Rookie Malik Willis exhibits promise in first preseason efficiency for Titans

There was loads of hype coming into the Tennessee Titans’ first preseason sport in opposition to the Baltimore Ravens — a 23-10 loss — and it needed to do lots with the rookies. Vast receivers Treylon Burks and Kyle Phillips had nice coaching camps, cornerback Roger McCreary and offensive deal with Nicholas Petit-Frere are each within the midst of place battles after which in fact there’s the brand new quarterback, Malik Willis.

The previous Liberty signal-caller received the beginning on Thursday night time with Ryan Tannehill inactive, so there was a particular feeling round this exhibition matchup. Willis wasn’t thought-about to be probably the most polished quarterback within the 2022 NFL Draft, however he is a dual-threat athlete who’s fast on his ft, and likewise has a cannon for an arm. Willis is not preventing to start out this upcoming season, however the NFL world was excited to see what he was able to in his first skilled motion, and Titans followers needed to get a glimpse at what the longer term may seem like.

A gradual begin

Willis missed on his first three passes. The Titans went three-and-out on their first drive, operating again Julius Chestnut fumbled away Tennessee’s second possession after which the offense once more went three-and-out on the third drive.

That fourth drive was when issues started to click on. Willis accomplished his first go to Chestnut on a display screen, who took it for a acquire of 12 yards. Chestnut was clearly set on making up for his earlier fumble, as he broke free for a 29-yard acquire two performs later to get Tennessee close to the pink zone. After Hassan Haskins took a go 18 yards to get to the Ravens’ 7-yard line, that is after we noticed Willis report his first highlight-reel play. 

The landing run

On second and aim, Willis rolled proper on a go play, however shortly reversed course — spinning to the left — and slipped between two defenders to attain the landing. For a second, it did not seem like the rookie was going to seek out pay dust, however Willis made positive he completed the play.

Whereas the rookie wasn’t taking part in in opposition to starters, his pace actually stood out. The rollout created open subject within the different course, his instincts kicked in and he went off script. Willis hadn’t performed a lot within the passing sport up up to now, however that was about to alter. 

The deep ball

The very subsequent offensive play for the Titans, Willis discovered second-year wideout Racey McMath racing down the sector off of play-action. The defensive again turned early, took a nasty learn on the ball and it resulted in a 48-yard completion for the Titans.

This was one of many largest performs of the sport, and the way the ball flew off of Willis’ arm actually stood out. 

Malik Mahomes?

As a quarterback on the subsequent degree, you are going to have to suit the ball into tight home windows and regulate your launch in sure eventualities when it’s a necessity. Coming off of play-action within the second quarter, Willis was met with a defensive finish along with his fingers raised. Try how he adjusted.

This is not a play that ensures Willis will likely be a franchise quarterback sooner or later, however it’s a neat spotlight.

Taking part in sensible

The speeding landing and deep go had been enjoyable to look at, however perhaps the largest takeaway from the Titans’ first preseason sport is that Willis performed sensible. He did not throw an interception, he knew when to throw the ball away, he knew when to take a sack and he knew when to take the verify down when issues weren’t open downfield.

To go together with taking part in sensible, when Willis began to seek out his rhythm — issues did not actually change. Younger quarterbacks who make just a few huge performs in a row can get excited and attempt to pressure the difficulty or prolong a play after they should not. We did not see that from Willis. 


Willis regarded fast in escaping stress within the pocket and confirmed the flexibility to maintain performs alive. General, he accomplished 6 of 11 passes for 107 yards, and rushed 5 instances for 38 yards and a landing. Willis wasn’t at all times correct, however general he recorded a efficiency that may have Titans followers — and NFL followers on the whole — excited for his subsequent outing. 

All of us should do not forget that that is the preseason and Willis will not be difficult Tannehill for his job. However the rookie completely confirmed potential in his first skilled outing, and performed mistake-free soccer. 

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CBS Night Information, August 11, 2022

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