Zach Lyons is a NFL Senior Contributor for Broadway Sports. He is also Co-Host of the wildly popular, award winning, and world renowned podcast, “A Football & Other F Words”, new episodes released every Wednesday wherever you get your podcasts.. He’s also a co-host for Nashville’s first ever football only show with a global reach, “A Football Show”. “A Football Show” airs LIVE every Monday and Thursday at 1p CST. Subscribe and turn on notifications here.
The Titans ended up losing a slugfest with the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. To be honest, it was a lot closer than I thought it would be, and what it would have been, solely based on injuries and match ups. However, much like most games that have a L as the result there are weird narratives that spring up all over Twitter and Facebook.
There’s been one that’s simmering for a while that came to a breaking point for me on Monday. The tweet below isn’t the first one of its kind but its the latest in a long history of tweets suggesting: “Well if Patrick Mahomes can do it, why can’t Ryan Tannehill?”
I hate to break it to everyone, but as we near the end of Ryan Tannehill fourth season with the Titans, he isn’t Patrick Mahomes. I know that may be some brain-shattering realization you’re just now coming to terms with, but he has never been as talented and naturally gifted as Patrick Mahomes.
There is something every week that Mahomes does that no other quarterback can do. Its actually kind of maddening and annoying cause the clip will just get overblown and played on repeat, but fact of the matter is, there isn’t a quarterback/HC duo I am picking over the Chiefs. That includes Josh Allen/Sean McDermott and Shanahan/Anyone.
While Mahomes has all the talent, Andy Reid and his offense with Eric Bienemy, are the reason why that talent has been unlocked. Mahomes landed in the perfect situation with the perfect coaching staff that knows how to tailor an offense around the QB’s traits, and the lack of weapons and pass-blocking.
Mahomes has a way better pass catching group, and the run game is actually working efficiently. (People forget Reid usually has had a good run game) There are no-name wide receivers for Mahomes that pop up every now and then and make spectacular catches, or are running wide open, but that’s what Mahomes can do, his elite talent elevates those around him.
Tannehill is not that kind of elite. He was putting up elite numbers for a short time, but everything around him was going right. The offensive line was great, the pass catchers were above average, run game was clicking, and the play-caller QB combo was clicking.
Then the Titans lost Art Smith, hired Todd Downing, didn’t properly replace two pass catchers, offensive line and pass catchers got injured constantly, and Tannehill’s numbers decline. What a shock. Then pretty much put it on repeat this year, but because there have been better TEs, and a second year with a play caller, he is still somehow being efficient, and not really the issue.
Outside of trading up for Bryce Young, there is no Patrick Mahomes walking through that door in 2023. Is there a chance Malik Willis who shows modest improvement every time he starts can be the QB of the future? Yes. Is the current offensive staff and scheme going to prevent that? Yes. Will he ever be Patrick Mahomes? No, he will be Malik Willis.
If Patrick Mahomes had landed on about 90% of teams back in 2017, we probably would’ve never known the greatness he is. Like I said, its about situation and coaching for a young quarterback. Look at Brock Purdy. Spoiler Alert: Brock Purdy will turn into a pumpkin soon. We saw it with Nick Mullens, with CJ Beathard, but Shanahan can only do so much with a quarterback. Now what he’s done is great, but if you don’t think Shanahan would easily flip Purdy for Tannehill, you’re insane.
Shanahan would drown puppy dogs for a quarterback like Tannehill right now. He’d drop your grandparents in acid if it meant having Tannehill for a playoff run, because he knows out of everyone in the league he can get the most out of Tannehill (see Art Smith), and have the best chance to win a Super Bowl with him.
Look, I am not denying that the Titans aren’t at a fork in the road for their quarterback situation. The choices are less desirable because of the contract situation with Tannehill, the massive question mark with Willis, and the lack of draft scenarios available to them. However, while Tannehill has been lackluster in the playoffs, he’s the best option they have currently.
Unless he develops the ability to transmogrify into Mahomes, he will never be able to do what Mahomes does. He can’t do it with two bum ankles, and hell he couldn’t do it with cybernetic ankles either. So stop trying to compare the two, and stop with this ridiculous tweets like you’re some kind of genius. You’re really just coming off like this: “Hey guys, I figured out how to fix the Titans. Just get the best QB of his generation and pair him with a top-5 all time offensive playcaller. Why haven’t they just tried to do that?”