Titans’ Tannehill an effective dual-threat QB

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor probably has watched more film of Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill than most who have spent time preparing for him.

Taylor was on the coaching staff at Texas A&M when Tannehill was the quarterback there from 2008 to 2011 and then was an assistant quarterbacks coach for the Dolphins in 2012 when they drafted him. Ultimately, they spent eight years working together.

Now, Taylor is preparing his Bengals to face Tannehill for the second time in his three years as head coach. Cincinnati plays Tennessee in an AFC divisional game Saturday at Nissan Stadium.

“I’ve probably got a stronger library of all the throws, all the catches and all the runs he had over those eight years than maybe he does, because as a coach you end watching those cut-ups all the time,” Taylor said. “He’s smart. He was pre-med. … He was always capable of knowing the entire offense and what the coaches wanted out of the system. He’s got the arm to make all the throws. He can play receiver in the NFL if he had chosen to do that. He’s one of the best keeper quarterbacks in the league. I’ve always thought that for the last 10 years now, that when he’s on the perimeter on these nakeds -- there were years he went 28 or 29 yards in the keeper game.

“He’s a tremendous quarterback. It’s no surprise he’s helped that team get in the position they’ve been in these last couple of years. He really executes that offense at a high level and he can make a defense pay if you let him. They’ve got the right quarterback on board there.”

Taylor said all that knowledge of Tannehill is helpful for understanding tendencies, but noted he hasn’t been with him since 2015, and “that’s like a lifetime ago.”

But cornerback Mike Hilton said much of what Taylor recalls about Tannehill remains valid, especially his mobility. Tannehill has thrown for 3,734 yards and 21 touchdowns with 14 interceptions, while leading an offense that features a top five running game. Much of his work is done outside the pocket.

“It’s definitely a problem,” Hilton said. “Everybody knows how athletic he is outside the pocket. He is able to extend plays and throwing the ball downfield, taking off and running. We have definitely been preaching to our front four, be smart about your rush lanes. Make him beat us from the pocket. We feel like if we contain him from getting outside the pocket that will better our chances.”

Callahan balancing present and future

Offensive coordinator Brian Callahan is set to interview for the Broncos’ head coaching job Thursday afternoon via videoconference, but Callahan said Wednesday that would not impact his preparation for Saturday’s game.

Callahan, who worked for the Broncos from 2010 to 2016, is Taylor’s right-hand man and especially plays a big role in the redzone offense.

“My focus is 100 percent on this game and to our players,” Callahan said. “There is no other focus for me. Anything I do outside of that framework is on my own time. It’s late at night or early in the morning if I need to prepare for something. These are things that you slowly prepare for over time and you get a chance to collect your thoughts on your own time. I give everything I have during the day to get ready for this game. All these things are all personal accolades, it’s no different than MVP or Rookie of the Year. Any of those types of accolades is because the team had success and those guys that worked really hard. You get individual benefit from the collective success and that’s certainly where I’m at right now. It’s an honor to be included in a process like that, but I would never take anything away from my preparation for a game of this magnitude. Anything I do is on my own time and try to balance it that way as best I can.”

Ogunjobi still making impact

Although defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi is done for the season and requires surgery on his foot, he is sticking around to remain with his teammates and offer any perspective he can from the sidelines.

Hilton said having him in the locker room and “out there on his wheelie” at practice shows how much he cares about the team. That feeling is mutual. Hilton said he hopes the Bengals re-sign him and give him another chance. Ogunjobi played this season on a one-year deal.

“We know mentally he’s probably down right now,” Hilton said. “He’s been having a great year, and just to go out like that, it’s tough. But he’s gonna be a guy that’s gonna constantly cheer us on and keep the energy high.”

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