It looks like the Broncos will see Ryan Tannehill in Tennessee
It doesn’t look as though the Broncos will get to face rookie Malik Willis on Sunday.
Titans QB Ryan Tannehill had a full workload in practice Thursday, putting him on course to return to the lineup for the first time since he injured his ankle against the Indianapolis Colts on Oct. 23.
Willis started each of the last two games for the Titans. They split the games against cellar-dwelling Houston and elite Kansas City, but the third-round rookie struggled, completing just 11 of his 26 passes.
The Broncos are an integral part of Tannehill’s Tennessee tale. His first regular-season passing attempts for the Titans came in Denver three seasons ago. Tannehill replaced an ineffective Marcus Mariota in the second half of what would be a 16-0 Broncos win. While Tannehill didn’t change the result of that game, he went 13-of-16 for 144 yards and drove the Titans into the red zone twice.
While Tannehill’s statistical production is inconsistent, the team-wide success with him under center is impossible to ignore. Since he became the Titans’ starting quarterback, they have the NFL’s fourth-best winning percentage. They’re also one of just four teams to make the playoffs in each of the last three seasons.
Tennessee wasn’t tearing up the league this season through the air with Tannehill firing passes. In Weeks 1-7 — which covers Tannehill’s six starts this season — the Titans ranked 30th in passing yards, with just 165.5 per game.
In Willis’ two starts, the Titans’ passing output plummeted to a meager 48.5 yards per game.
But even with Tannehill mending, the Titans remain beset by injuries. Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, a second-team All-Pro last year, did not practice for a second consecutive day due to an ankle injury. Simmons was spotted wearing a walking boot in the Titans locker room Wednesday.
Four other Titans defensive starters also have yet to practice this week: ILB Zach Cunningham (elbow), OLB Bud Dupree (hip), safety Amani Hooker (shoulder) and NT Teair Tart (illness).
So, while the Broncos should see Tannehill, they could also face a defense without more than half of its starting front seven. And that would cut the heart out of the Titans’ strength.