Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill admitted it was hard for him to adjust to the bench role when he first arrived to the team. Tannehill, who was taken at No. 8 in the 2012 NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins, was the starting quarterback for the Dolphins for years before the team decided to move on from him.
After landing with the Titans in the 2019 offseason, Tannehill knew he would be a backup for Marcus Mariota. "I saw that this was a group of men who love the game, love each other and want to win. I also saw that they loved their quarterback, Marcus Mariota.
I grew to love him, too," Tannehill recalled in his contribution post for The Players' Tribune. "And that leads me to probably one of the biggest adjustments I had to make in Tennessee. Not being the starter. "I remember my first game in a Titans uniform.
It was Week 1 last season, on the road in Cleveland. I was in the locker room before the game, and while I was getting dressed, I saw that the guys around me all had their headphones on, getting into whatever zone they needed to get into to perform on the field.
But not me.
I was just … getting dressed. I wasn’t preparing to start. I wasn’t preparing to lead. I was preparing to stand on the sideline. And be ready. Just in case."
Tannehill admitted he was in low spirits
Tannehill started the season as a backup quarterback but got promoted to the starting quarterback in Week 7.
"That was kind of a low moment for me. As football players, we live to compete on Sundays. When I wasn’t being asked to do that anymore, it was humbling. And all I could really do was swallow my pride and do whatever I could to get better so I would be ready when an opportunity presented itself.
I didn’t have any other choice," Tannehill continued. The Titans started the season 2-4 with Mariota as the starting quarterback. After Tannehill got promoted to the starting lineup. the Titans started playing much better and eventually made the AFC Championship Game, before losing to eventual champions Kansas City Chiefs.
"In Week 6, I got that chance. I took over for Marcus against Denver, and a few days later, I was named the starter for Week 7. And I’ll be honest … it was a little awkward at first. I had seen how much these guys loved Marcus, and now he was sliding into that support role that I had played for him the first few weeks.
It was the kind of situation that — if you don’t have the right guys, the right leadership and the right culture — can tear a team apart. But I think it actually brought us closer together," Tannehill added.