In case you missed it, the Tennessee Titans selected Liberty quarterback prospect Malik Willis in the third round of the NFL draft and did not inform veteran Ryan Tannehill before making the pick.
After receiving some hype as a potential top-10 prospect, Willis slid on draft weekend and ended up in Tennessee. It was an unexpected landing spot, but one that made sense long-term. The raw QB prospect could use a couple of seasons to learn and develop under a veteran and the soon-to-be 34-year-old Tannehill has a contract that expires around a similar timeframe.
A match made in heaven, right? Not exactly.
ALL the latest Jets news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Jets newsletter here!
Tannehill Not Focused on Mentoring, Jets Unimpressed
During a press conference on May 3, Tannehill commented publicly on the Willis selection and one quote quickly went viral.
“We’re competing against each other, we’re watching the same tape, we’re doing the same drills — I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him but if he learns from me along the way, then that’s a great thing,” Tannehill responded when asked if there was more pressure to perform with Willis on the roster.
Of course, the middle portion of that statement was tweeted out on social media and it wasn’t long before players gave their take on the “I don’t think it’s my job to mentor him” remarks. Two New York Jets veterans were critical of the starting quarterback.
“That’s lame!!” Quote tweeted John Franklin-Myers in the early evening. Not long after, cornerback addition D.J. Reed Jr. gave his take on the controversy.
“You leading the team & you not helping out your position group smh..” he voiced.
Follow the Heavy On Jets Facebook page, where you can weigh in on all the latest NYJ-related daily content, analysis, features and more!
Culture Is Changing at One Jets Drive
Are Tannehill’s comments being blown out of proportion? Probably. The reporter that sparked the quote didn’t even ask a question, he followed up on one by telling the Titans QB that “ultimately,” Willis was brought in to take his job.
As a veteran, Tannehill should have known better than to gift wrap the media with a quote like that but his words were most likely taken out of context by the masses. Even so, it’s easy to appreciate the response from the two veteran leaders on the Jets.
This franchise’s culture is changing and the new theme is accountability. Each player is going to try and lift up the ones around them and if that means teaching someone that can eventually replace them, so be it.
Franklin-Myers and Reed almost seemed disgusted by the mentality that a veteran leader would choose not to mentor a rookie — and they weren’t afraid to share that. This is the comradery that head coach Robert Saleh was hired to create.
As Coach Saleh always explains, “All Gas No Brake” isn’t about going 100% all the time, it’s about waking up with the mindset of doing whatever it takes to get better each and every day. That includes standing up for your teammates and pushing them to be the best that they can be.
Culture was the first shift at One Jets Drive, then came the influx of talent. The only part that’s left is the wins.
Follow @obermuller_nyj and @BoyGreen25 on Twitter for all the latest New York Jets breaking news, rumors, fresh takes and more!