Titans’ Tannehill out vs. Texans, rookie QB Willis to start

Dec 21, 2022, 10:44 PM | Updated: Dec 22, 2022, 1:22 pm
Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis (7) passes against the Los Angeles Chargers during the fi...

Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis (7) passes against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

              Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, right, is carted off the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Chargers in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
            
              Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) reacts after being sacked against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
            
              Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis (7) passes against the Los Angeles Chargers during the first half of an NFL football game in Inglewood, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 18, 2022. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee rookie Malik Willis will start his third NFL game Saturday against the Houston Texans with veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill ruled out with an injured right ankle.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel refused to discuss Tannehill’s future beyond this game.

“Just out this week,” Vrabel said Thursday. “I don’t have to issue an injury report for next week until next week.”

The Titans (7-7) sit atop the AFC South looking for a third straight division title, yet their once four-game lead is down to one with three games remaining.

Tannehill hurt his right ankle, which he sprained Oct. 23 in a win over Indianapolis, in the first quarter of last week’s 17-14 loss in Los Angeles to the Chargers. Tannehill was carted to the locker room, missed one series and returned to finish the game. The 11-year veteran ran for the tying touchdown with 48 seconds left.

This will be Willis’ second start against the Texans (1-12-1). He threw only 10 passes in a 17-10 win in Houston on Oct. 30 with Derrick Henry running for 219 yards and two touchdowns. The Titans will need Willis’ mobility with center Ben Jones placed on injured reserve after his second concussion in a month.

Right guard Nate Davis (ankle) has been ruled out for this game. The Titans’ other three offensive linemen also are on a lengthy injury report. Left tackle Dennis Daley was added Wednesday with an abdominal injury, joining left guard Aaron Brewer (rib) and right tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere has an injured ankle.

Willis will be backed up by Joshua Dobbs, a fourth-round pick by Pittsburgh out of Tennessee in 2017, who was signed Wednesday off Detroit’s practice squad and practiced with the Titans that same day.

Dobbs appeared in six games combined with the Steelers in 2018 and 2020. He spent 2019 with Jacksonville after being traded to the Jaguars.

Dobbs signed with Cleveland earlier this year, and he signed with Detroit’s practice squad earlier this month.

“We’ve seen some guys do it,” Dobbs said. “I saw Baker (Mayfield) do it a couple weeks ago, but it’s not easy. Luckily there’s a lot of crossover in this system from the system I’ve been in all year in Cleveland in terminology and overall offensive mindset so that helps a ton.”

NOTES: The Titans also will be without starting CB Kristian Fulton (groin) along with LB Dylan Cole (ankle) and DB Josh Thompson (concussion). They also placed CB Terrance Mitchell (hamstring) on injured reserve, putting them at 19. They signed OL Daniel Munyer, added to the practice squad Tuesday, to the active roster.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE -U.S. Olympic team head coach Teri McKeever speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Olympi...
Associated Press

Cal fires swim coach McKeever, winner of 4 NCAA team titles

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Longtime University of California women’s swimming coach Teri McKeever was fired Tuesday following an investigation into alleged harassment, bullying and verbally abusive conduct, the school said in a statement. McKeever led the Golden Bears to four NCAA team titles over 29 years. She coached the U.S. women’s swim team at the […]
18 hours ago
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, and forward Anthony Davis look on from the bench dur...
Associated Press

James back at MSG as he, Davis available to play for Lakers

NEW YORK (AP) — LeBron James is back in the lineup for the Los Angeles Lakers for their game against the New York Knicks, his first game at Madison Square Garden in three years. James moved well during a pregame workout Tuesday and the Lakers upgraded him from questionable to available. James sat out Monday […]
18 hours ago
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid celebrates with defensive end Frank Clark, right, after the...
Associated Press

Andy Reid turned a 6-inch binder into a Hall of Fame resume

Andy Reid was an unknown assistant in Green Bay when Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie took a chance on hiring Brett Favre’s position coach to revive a struggling franchise in Philadelphia. A newspaper headline greeted Reid’s arrival with a headline that said: “Andy Who?” Everybody knows his name now. Reid won more games (130) than any […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Michigan State's Khary Crump waits for a play to begin during the team's NCAA college footba...
Associated Press

Michigan State player who swung helmet gets probation

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan State football player who swung his helmet at a Michigan player in a stadium tunnel expressed regret Tuesday and said he’s “just looking forward to wuppin’ some maize and blue” on the field. Khary Crump, a defensive back, was sentenced to probation. He was one of seven Michigan […]
18 hours ago
San Francisco 49ers' Jauan Jennings, left, and Trey Lance embrace on the bench in the final minute ...
Associated Press

49ers head into offseason with more questions at quarterback

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers head into another offseason with major questions at quarterback after a season filled with injuries to the most important position ended without any of them physically able to throw the the ball downfield. Trey Lance, who began the season as starter, is getting close to being […]
18 hours ago
Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva  waits for the arrival of the German Chancellor Olaf S...
Associated Press

Brazilian volleyball player suspended over Lula poll

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazilian volleyball club Cruzeiro suspended Olympic gold medalist Wallace de Souza on Tuesday after he conducted a social media poll asking his fans whether they would shoot Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in the face. The 35-year-old de Souza, who played on Brazil’s winning team at the Rio de […]
18 hours ago
Titans’ Tannehill out vs. Texans, rookie QB Willis to start