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Tennessee Titans QB Malik Willis evaluates relief performance, reflects on Ryan Tannehill's role

Backup quarterback Malik Willis is ready to step up for the Tennessee Titans, despite the team's loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Willis is focused on improving and being prepared for any future opportunities.

Malik Willis, the third-round pick of the Tennessee Titans in the 2022 NFL Draft, understands the importance of being prepared for any situation. As a backup quarterback, his job is to be ready to step in and win games when called upon. This was exactly what happened in the Titans' recent game against the Baltimore Ravens when starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill got injured.

Although the Titans ultimately lost the game 24-16, Willis maintained a big-picture perspective when evaluating his performance. He acknowledged that the team didn't come out with a win and took responsibility for that. He emphasized the need to go back to the drawing board and learn from the experience.

Willis had the opportunity to lead two drives between the third and fourth quarters. When he entered the game, the Titans were trailing by eight points with a chance to tie the score. However, on his second drive late in the fourth quarter, the deficit increased to 11 points. Despite completing four out of five passes for 74 yards and rushing three times for 17 yards, Willis also faced five sacks, including plays nullified due to penalties. Moreover, he was unable to get his team into the end zone despite having a first-and-goal on the 1-yard line.

Reflecting on his performance, Willis expressed his intention to watch the film and analyze what worked and what didn't. In his rookie season, he struggled with holding onto the ball for too long and taking too many sacks. However, he also displayed confidence in his throws and drew two coverage penalties that won't be reflected in his official stats.

It's worth noting that when Willis entered the game, the Titans were already dealing with injuries to tight end Josh Whyle and receiver Chris Moore, both of whom were ruled out due to concussion protocol. Additionally, receiver Treylon Burks was absent due to an ankle injury. Head coach Mike Vrabel acknowledged the challenges posed by these absences and the difficulty of overcoming a two-score deficit.

Willis received support and encouragement from his teammates and coaches. Tannehill advised him to start getting ready in case he was needed and expressed his support. Offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and quarterbacks coach Charles London encouraged him to have fun, be himself, and strive for the win. Receiver DeAndre Hopkins simply told him to be comfortable and play to his strengths.

Despite the support, the game didn't end in a victory for Willis and the Titans. As Tannehill undergoes an MRI on his right ankle, the same ankle he injured last season that led to Willis making three starts, Willis finds himself in a familiar position. With the Titans having a bye week, he will spend the next two weeks preparing as if he's the starter, understanding that Tannehill could recover quickly and rookie Will Levis is waiting for an opportunity.

For now, Willis is focused on taking each day as it comes and giving his best effort in whatever role he is asked to fulfill.

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