COLLEGE STATION — Fans will always have opinions on player's and free agency will undoubtedly drive people up the wall. Whether one loves him or hates him, Ryan Tannehill was a detrimental part of the Tennessee Titans offense last season.
For his 7-3 record, plus postseason performance, the Titans agreed to a four-year $118 million deal to keep him in the Music City long-term. This also allowed the organization to use the tag on Derrick Henry to keep the duo together another season.
It's a move that some will question, but one Hall of Fame coach is presently pleased with what he's seen from the former Aggie.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher recently spoke to Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com. During the interview, the Super Bowl-winning coach gave praise to Tannehill's progression, noting that the former Texas A&M quarterback seems comfortable back under center.
"He looks like a guy who has his confidence back," Cowher said of Tannehill, according to Wyatt. "When you watch him, you see he is playing loose and I think he is continuing to grow as a quarterback. Ryan came into the National Football League with one year at the quarterback position and with high expectations. He is still understanding the game, and the longer you're in it, the better you are going to be."
Entering the starting lineup in Week 5, Tannehill changed the culture of Tennessee for the better. The Titans would find stability running the ball and through the air, leading to a playoff push late into the season. The 31-year-old quarterback would throw for 2,742 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Although pushed into a limited role in the postseason behind Henry's near 500-yard push, Tannehill helped the Titans make a deep run. The team would defeat Tom Brady's New England Patriots before taking down the 2019 MVP Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens. Tennessee would fall a week later to the eventual Super Bowl LIV Champion Kansas City Chiefs, 35-24, in the AFC Championship.
During the three postseason appearances, Tannehill would throw for 369 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 35 yards and adding a score. He was named to the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl and won the league's Comeback Player of the Year in January.
I think Ryan is in a good system, and I definitely think he can sustain it," said Cowher. "I think this system in Tennessee really fits him and I think a lot of pressure is off him after being a high draft choice -- and he was supposed to be the savior and next Dan Marino in Miami. Sometimes I think it is good to get a second chance and now he has that in Tennessee and it's going well for him."
Lost among the love for Von Miller in College Station, Tannehill was a vital offensive piece for Mike Sherman's offense. A three-year starter in Aggieland, Tannehill would be a part of the final Big 12 class before the team's move to the SEC, playing both quarterback and wide receiver.
Tannehill would finish his career with 112 receptions for 1,596 yards and 10 touchdowns at receiver. Under center, he would throw for 5,450 yards, 42 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. The Miami Dolphins would select him with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft.
For his career, Tannehill has thrown for 23,176 yards, 145 touchdowns and 81 interceptions. In 2019, the former 12th Man set a career-high in passing percentage, completing 70.3% of his throws.