NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill walked out wearing sneakers Wednesday to talk to reporters with no hint of a limp.
Then the Tennessee Titans quarterback spent the next few minutes sidestepping questions about his sprained right ankle just as he dodges pass rushers trying to take down Tannehill on the field.
Yes, Tannehill’s right ankle feels better than after the Titans’ 19-10 win over Indianapolis when he left the stadium wearing a walking boot.
No, he isn’t at a point where he could dance at his daughter’s wedding. Not because of his ankle, but she’s 4 and a couple of decades from that moment.
“I am headed in the right direction,” Tannehill said. “I have got a little ways to go, but I have been better and I have been worse. Headed in the right direction.”
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said before practice he thought Tannehill might be listed as limited on the team’s injury report after practice.
Tannehill wound up among four who did not practice as the Titans (4-2) prepare for Sunday’s game in Houston (1-4-1).
Tannehill has not missed a start since moving into the starting lineup in mid-October 2019, and he is set for his 50th consecutive start in the regular season against Houston.
That’s the most by a quarterback in franchise history, easily topping the 43 consecutive regular-season starts by Steve McNair between 2001 and 2003.
That’s why Tannehill said he is doing everything possible both in the training room at the Titans’ headquarters and at home with all types of treatments to “give my body the best chance to heal.”
Asked if his biggest issue is pain tolerance or damage in the ankle, Tannehill said “we will see.”
The 11-year veteran said he wasn’t sure how his ankle would feel Wednesday.
“I didn’t plan to feel too good after the game, and I didn’t feel too good,” Tannehill said. “We are heading in the right direction.”
Tannehill’s current backup is rookie Malik Willis, the Titans’ third-round draft pick at No. 80 overall. Willis has appeared in two games so far, the first in mop-up duty with Tennessee being routed in Buffalo in Week 2. He got on the field for three snaps last week, one at quarterback when Tannehill went to the sideline hurt.
Vrabel said Willis is expected — like everyone else — to prepare as if he will start. Tennessee also tried to use the rookie’s legs in a couple of other plays last week.
“We’ve got a multitude of plays that we can run,” Vrabel said. “The ones that we have in that we feel like can help us win against Houston, then there are other plays that we could go to if another quarterback had to be in there.”
The Titans have leaned heavily on two-time NFL rushing champ Derrick Henry, who ranks fourth in the NFL with 536 yards rushing. Tannehill has thrown for 1,097 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions this season and hasn’t been picked off in three straight games.
NOTES: New Titans WR Chris Conley practiced Wednesday after being signed Tuesday off the Chiefs practice squad. … DT Jeffery Simmons (left ankle) joined Tannehill in not practicing along with OLB Rashad Weaver (back) and FB Tory Carter (neck). C Ben Jones was among seven limited at practice, but the Titans got ILB Zach Cunningham (elbow) back practicing fully after he missed the past three games.
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