Tannehill building chemistry with his new Titans’ playmakers
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill’s favorite receiver since becoming the Tennessee Titans’ starting quarterback now plays in Philadelphia.
Luckily, the Titans got Tannehill a lot of new teammates to work with, and he’s busy working this offseason to create chemistry and timing with all the new wide receivers and tight ends.
“It’s been fun man,” Tannehill said Tuesday. “I’ve enjoyed working with those guys.”
The Titans were busy trying to upgrade Tannehill’s passing options even before trading Brown to Philadelphia on the first night of the NFL draft in April. They signed tight end Austin Hooper and traded for Robert Woods. They drafted receiver Treylon Burks and added tight end Chigoziem Okonkwo and receiver Kyle Philips.
Building that chemistry with the new teammates took a new step with the third phase of the NFL’s offseason program starting Monday. That includes Woods who tore his left ACL in practice last Nov. 12 with the Rams.
Woods, 30, wore a yellow, non-contact jersey and a brace on his left knee. But he took part Tuesday in the session open to reporters this week. Tannehill said he really enjoys throwing the ball to a veteran who does things the right way.
“You add a veteran guy like that to our team, to the wide receiver room, we know that they’re in good hands and he’s going to steer them in the right direction,” Tannehill said of Woods who has 570 catches for 7,077 yards and 35 touchdowns.
Hooper is a two-time Pro Bowl tight end in his final two seasons in Atlanta where he caught a combined 146 of his 298 career receptions. Tannehill has been busy working with him since the quarterback joined the team’s offseason program, and Hooper made some nice catches Tuesday.
“He’s got some great size and strength and length, and that’s definitely a help for him and will help us offensively,” Tannehill said.
Burks practiced as well Tuesday, though he is dealing with something unspecified. Tannehill said they’re trying to get the 18th overall pick going.
“You see him in just that open-field tackle drill, you know he’s going to be a one-cut guy,” Tannehill said. “He’s running, he’s big, he’s strong. So haven’t thrown a lot of balls to him yet. But looking forward to him getting back on the field and competing with us.”
The Titans needed the extra help to boost an offense that ranked 24th in passing yards last season, averaging 201.1 yards a game. Brown was targeted with 105 passes, and his 63 catches were more than the total passes thrown to anyone else on the Titans’ roster.
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine ranked second in receptions last season, and the receiver who went undrafted out of Indiana in 2020 keeps quietly putting himself in position to make plays. He made several catches Tuesday, including a would-be touchdown on a long pass in one drill.
Dez Fitzpatrick was a fourth-round pick out of Louisville last year. Tannehill said Fitzpatrick came to Florida for a few days of work with him. Fitzpatrick caught only five passes for 49 yards and a TD as a rookie, but Tannehill noted a tough catch by Fitzpatrick across the middle Tuesday with a safety on his back.
Just the kind of play to build a quarterback’s confidence in a receiver.
“Now, it’s all about consistency you know? Just coming out on a daily basis and doing it,” Tannehill said.
NOTES: RB Derrick Henry, S Kevin Byard, DL Jeffery Simmons and Denico Autry were among the Titans not at Tuesday’s voluntary session. “I know that everybody that that’s not here, they’ll be in shape, they’ll be conditioned and they’ll be ready to go,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.
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