Malik Willis flashed his next-level athleticism during his preseason debut against the Baltimore Ravens—perhaps a little too much, if you ask the rookie quarterback.
“I just made up for it with my legs. Can't continue to rely on that, though," Willis told reporters, admitting he missed some reads in the passing game. "But that's what the preseason is for—so you can just see those things against a live defense, one we hadn't played before.”
Willis completed six of his 11 passes for 107 yards while rushing for 38 yards on five carries. The third-round pick had a pair of highlight reel plays, beating several Ravens to the edge on a seven-yard touchdown run and connecting with Racey McMath on a 48-yard deep ball.
Still, Titans coach Mike Vrabel wasn't satisfied with Willis' decision making in the passing game.
"He needs to try to throw the ball when guys are open, be more decisive," Vrabel told reporters. "We'll evaluate that, see if there's a timing issue or what's going on. Wanted to get him out there, see how he responds. There were some good plays and obviously some plays we're gonna have to look at the timing on the release and if we're making the right decisions."
The Titans are expected to give Willis a full redshirt this season behind Ryan Tannehill, so any concerns can be worked on behind the scenes.
That said, Vrabel noted he pulled Willis earlier than he planned because Willis was missing open receivers. It's hard to find a good reasoning behind that decision. Preseason is, at its very core, about developing players in an exhibition setting. The Titans aren't going to suddenly find out they have a star in Logan Woodside, who replaced Willis and struggled mightily, completing 14 of 24 passes for 102 yards and two interceptions.
Preseason should be the time the Titans allow Willis to develop on his game and start to work the kinks out.