Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill might have ruffled some feathers outside the organization when he said it was not his job to mentor rookie quarterback Malik Willis, but members of the team didn't see it that way. Coach Mike Vrabel and Willis downplayed Tannehill's comments, saying they don't see those comments as a reason for strife.
Tannehill, 33, drew criticism after telling reporters it was not his job to mentor Willis, who the team selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL draft.
Vrabel did not have an issue with that quote. He agreed with Tannehill on Friday, saying Tannehill's job is to win games, according to the Associated Press.
“His job is to prepare to help us win a bunch of games and and be a great teammate and help out,” Vrabel said Friday. “And I know that he’s going to do that. So that was not any sort of issue for me.”
Vrabel did find a way to more critically address Tannehill with the comment. The line about being a great teammate and helping out seems to suggest that Vrabel does view a portion of Tannehill's role as being friendly toward Willis. That probably includes answering questions Willis has about the offense or specific coverages. That definitely sounds like a form of mentoring.
Vrabel went on to say he thought Tannehill's comments were "genuine and authentic." Vrabel added that Tannehill is a good teammate, and that mentoring Willis is not one of Tannehill's jobs.
Tannehill threw 21 touchdowns against 14 interceptions last season.
Malik Willis says relationship with Ryan Tannehill is solid
Willis didn't see an issue with Tannehill's quotes either. He even cracked a joke before explaining he has a good relationship with Tannehill.
“What comment?” Willis quipped before a quick follow-up question. “Oh, man, we chopped it up. I mean, it was never anything negative. Ryan’s a good dude. Like i said he had us over to the house. Everything’s cool.”
Willis received first-round buzz prior to the draft, but wound up getting picked in the third round. During his final season at Liberty, Willis threw 27 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.