Why Ryan Tannehill isn’t starting for Titans vs. Chiefs on ‘Sunday Night Football’ in Week 9


The Titans have been a thorn in the side of the Chiefs in recent years, but they will face an uphill battle in Week 9 to beat Kansas City on the road.

Why? Because the Titans have to do without quarterback Ryan Tannehill in the “Sunday Night Football” duel.

Tannehill is missing his second straight game after making 51 straight starts for Tennessee. The team will need to rely on an inexperienced duo to guide them in a potentially high-scoring affair.

Why is Tannehill unavailable on Sunday evenings? Here’s what you should know about his absence and who will make up the team’s quarterback depth chart against the Chiefs.

LIVE: Follow the Titans vs. Chiefs Sunday Night Football with SN’s game blog

Why isn’t Ryan Tannehill starting for the Titans?

Tannehill won’t start for the Titans because he’s struggling with an ankle injury. He was only able to do limited practice Wednesday and Friday, but the Titans determined he wasn’t healthy enough to start.

This is Tannehill’s second consecutive missed start due to injury. However, it wasn’t initially expected to be a long-term issue, so he may return to action in Week 10 against the Broncos.

Tannehill will almost certainly remain the Titans’ main starter once he recovers. The team went 1-0 with him on the sidelines as rookie Malik Willis guided Tennessee to a win over the Texans in Week 8, but Tannehill is a much more polished passer. Plus, his 4-2 record as a starter this year isn’t too shabby.

MORE: Breakdown of how the Chiefs could use Kadarius Toney

What is Ryan Tannehill’s injury?

Tannehill is dealing with a sprained ankle sustained in the Titans’ 19-10 win over the Colts in Week 7. He only missed a few snaps in that competition but was spotted in a hiking boot after the game.

Tannehill was on the Titans’ injury report at weeks 8 and 9 because of the injury. He also struggled with an illness prior to Week 8 — a stomach issue, to be precise — and that was another reason he missed the Texans game. That doesn’t bother him anymore.

The good news for Titans fans is that Tannehill did two limited practice sessions in Week 9. He only completed one total prior to week 8 so seems to be making progress in his recovery.

MORE: What’s wrong with the Packers? Offense collapse means no playoffs for Green Bay

Titan’s QB depth chart

The Titans will have two active quarterbacks for “Sunday Night Football,” and they combined them for just one NFL start. Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will have the chance to make life difficult for them.

Here’s the quarterback pecking order for the Titans for their game against the Chiefs:


1.Malik Willis

Willis, a third-round rookie from Liberty, will start. He is known for his mobility; He rushed for 159 yards on 14 tries last preseason. He’s still developing as a passer; He completed 54.9 percent of his passes for 318 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in extended preseason action.

Willis made his first career start in Week 8 against the Texans. He was able to lead the Titans to a 17-10 win despite only hauling for 67 yards in total. He completed 6 of 10 passes for 55 yards and added 12 yards on the ground, but the Titans rushed for a total of 314 yards against the Texans’ porous running defense.

Phew, Malik Willis pic.twitter.com/74C41eNVFo

— Billy M (@BillyM_91) August 12, 2022

2. Logan Woodside

Woodside is more experienced than Willis, having been in the NFL since the Bengals selected him in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He didn’t make it to the Bengals and was quickly picked up by the Titans before the start of the 2018 season. He has since remained in Tennessee, apart from a brief stint with the AAF’s San Antonio Commanders in Spring 2019.

Woodside has never started a game for the Titans. He has appeared in 11 games and run the ball for 4 yards 13 times. He has never attempted an NFL pass.

Still, Woodside has seen plenty of preseason action for the Titans. In 2022, he completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 201 yards. But he failed to record a touchdown and threw three interceptions. It’s one of the reasons Willis won the backup job and Woodside ended up on the practice team.

Dave Gallo

Dave Gallo is a pioneering sports analytics expert, renowned for his revolutionary work in AI-driven sports simulations, projections, and advanced statistical analysis. With a profound passion for sports and technology, he crafts cutting-edge computer models that accurately predict outcomes. Dave's game-changing insights have reshaped strategy, player evaluation, and decision-making across various sports. His dynamic presentations make complex analytics accessible and inspiring, ensuring his legacy as a visionary in sports analytics. Check out Dave's Pick Record.

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