It’s been a minute since I was regularly posting, but I got a new job that I had to master outright before I began to give my attention to other things. NO, the fellas didn’t put me in timeout for my 32-team playoff shenanigans. I just required a little time and focus for this new gig. It isn’t hospitality, but it’s customer service at the end of the day.
It’s been a few weeks since the 2022 NFL Draft and I can’t shake the Ryan Tannehill comments on mentoring the Tennessee Titans 3rd Round draft pick, QB Malik Willis. In his first press conference since the end of the Titans 2021 season, Tannehill was asked if he would be mentoring their new quarterback. Tannehill said it is not his job to mentor Willis. If he learns something along the away while practicing with Tannehill, reviewing film, good for him.
Of course, this drew criticism, both good and bad, across sports media. In particular, from NFL Hall of Famer, Kurt Warner. Warner made it clear on his Twitter account that he doesn’t understand today’s player and how they don’t help their teammates. He also put it out there that if any quarterback that needs help learning the ins and outs of being an NFL QB, send him a DM and he we gladly work with anybody that wants the help.
Honestly, I have no problem with either side of the argument. I understand Tannehill’s side in why would he help the guy who is here to replace him? The guy who is coming for his job should already be a motivated self-starter. On the other hand, Tannehill is a leader of the Tennessee Titans. This stance he is taking is most likely why the Titans drafted another QB.
The only issue I have with Tannehill’s comments is that it was Tannehill making those comments. In 2005, when Aaron Rodgers was drafted to the Green Bay Packers, NFL Hall of Famer Brett Favre who was the starting QB at the time said he wasn’t there to help Aaron Rodgers when he got drafted. At that time, I had no problem with Favre’s comments because he was 3-time league MVP and Super Bowl winning QB Brett Favre. Heading into year 14, still winning the division, winning playoff games, and still in peak competition condition.
Tannehill does not have the resume’ to make these comments. In 2 of his last 3 playoff appearances, he failed to sustain doubledigit leads. In his most recent playoff appearance, he committed 2 crucial turnovers on the Titans opening drive and on their last drive to end the game. In 3 straight appearances, there were opportunities to sow doubt in the heads of their opponents. But that’s just it, no one is afraid of Tannehill. He reminds me of what former Pittsburgh Steelers safety, Ryan Clark, said of Eli Manning. He said his Defensive Coordinator told him if you just stay in your zone and make no sudden moves, Manning will throw you an interception sooner or later.
Back when I was in Management, I was responsible for onboarding every new hire. At the end of the onboarding process, I let them know of my availability as their leader at this property. I ended with my leadership sales pitch, it doesn’t benefit me to have you fail. If you run into an issue with anything at work, there is no excuse as to why you couldn’t call me. Now to Tannehill’s credit, the Titans didn’t tell him they were going to draft a QB in this draft. I can see why he would be salty about that, but what’s done is done. How does not helping your backup help the team?
I wasn’t the type of manager that would just place someone in one of my supervisors’ departments without their input. When I was looking to hire someone new, I made sure my staff was involved. Your team has a better feel for who they can workwith better than leadership. My team was instructed to engage potential new hires prior to me interviewing them. I received my best information from my team heading into those interviews be it red flags or question marks that left my team baffled and they thought it would be best if I addressed it in the interview.
That’s why I am a fan of players recruiting free agents to their team. I’ve never understood why players aren’t included during the same interview process for potential draft picks. Now I know corporate settings are different from sports settings. Hell, the environment that I created for my staff is something that you don’t find in many workplaces. But the point is this, Tannehill has not demonstrated the necessary leadership characteristics to ever suggest that his job is secure. As Carson Wentz can attest to, $100 million doesn’t buy job security, it is investing in your success. After 3 years, Tannehill has produced an underwhelming return on that investment.
Most successful athletes fall into the trap of getting comfortablenot realizing that their team’s front office has a department dedicated to replacing them. Just in case you don’t work out or are no longer living up to your potential, we have somebody in house ready to take your place or we can call somebody that will be here tomorrow…ready to take your place.
Maybe Kurt Warner had it right. His philosophy was to help his backup be his best, then go out to practice and beat him at his best. There was a method to his madness. Warner suffered a concussion in first game of the 2003 season and was replace the remainder of the season by March Bulger. The St. Louis Rams finished as NFC West Division Champs and was a 2 seed in the NFC playoffs before losing to the Carolina Panthers in double OT. The next year he moves on to the New York Giants where he is benched after 7 games for then rookie QB Eli Manning who would go onto win 2 Super Bowls.
Ryan Tannehill has walked back his statements on mentoringMalik Willis, saying he meant no disrespect. But I hope he realizes that he has an expiration date now. As former Hall of Fame 49ers Head Coach, Bill Walsh, used to say, your competition isn’t on that field, they’re on the sideline with me, ready to take your spot. I can’t wait for the preseason to make my annual Titans predictions for Batman.