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NFL Twitter Hyped After Malik Willis Shines in Titans Preseason Game vs. Cardinals

Adam WellsAugust 28, 2022

Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Tennessee Titans fans got many positive signs from rookie quarterback Malik Willis in his final preseason game Saturday.

Willis was given the start against the Arizona Cardinals. The 23-year-old played virtually the entire game, getting pulled late in the fourth quarter. He was coming off an erratic performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Aug. 20, finishing 7-of-17 for 80 yards and one touchdown through the air and 42 rushing yards on five carries.

Going against the Cardinals, Willis got a chance to unleash his speed on the ground. He ran for 79 yards on four carries, including a 50-yard scramble early in the second quarter that set up a Julius Chestnut touchdown two plays later.

Tennessee Titans @Titans

Showing off that <a href="https://twitter.com/EAMaddenNFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@EAMaddenNFL</a> speed 💨 <a href="https://twitter.com/malikwillis?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@malikwillis</a> <br><br>📺: Watch <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AZvsTEN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AZvsTEN</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/WKRN?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WKRN</a> <a href="https://t.co/eVsTJB52LS">pic.twitter.com/eVsTJB52LS</a>

Buck Reising @BuckReising

THAT'S the kind of run you want to see from Malik Willis. Defenders sink back, he takes it up the middle through wide open lanes for 50 yards. No ducking out of the back of the pocket, turning all the way around before you try to get up field. Plant it and go

Bryan Jones @bryanjj0nes

It’s clear as day that Malik Willis is listening to the coaches.<br><br>This kid is sitting back, going thru his reads and he looks solid.<br><br>No run game and not protecting him has killed his drives.<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Titans?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Titans</a>

ViJay Mueller @ViJayMueller35

Things I’ve learned from the first half of the Titans game.<br>1) Malik Willis is him<br>2) Stonehouse is the Titans punter

Jack Armstrong @jack_arm34

The Malik Willis situation starting to feel like Lamar when he was drafted. Both fell a lot and were drafted by teams with capable but less than ideal QBs in their 30s. If Malik keeps playing like he has been, he’ll be taking over like Lamar did

The Liberty alum had plenty of room to showcase his throwing prowess as well. He finished 15-of-23 for 131 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Treylon Burks, the No. 18 overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, had his best game of the preseason with 33 yards and a touchdown on three receptions.

TURRON DAVENPORT @TDavenport_NFL

This play shows progression from Malik Willis. He had the same look last week (just before the Chig Okonkwo TD), but didn't throw it to Treylon Burks. This week, he saw, believed it and let it rip. <a href="https://t.co/eFBj7zwaby">https://t.co/eFBj7zwaby</a>

After a pedestrian first half through the air with 88 yards on 12 completions, Willis got an explosive play in during the first possession of the second half when he hit Racey McMath for 26 yards to set up a field goal that gave the Titans a 16-10 lead.

Mohammed ☀️ @mhesen09

Malik Willis is looking so much better this week!<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Titans?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Titans</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TitanUp?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TitanUp</a>

ALL THINGS MALIK WILLIS @MusicCityMalik7

More patience by Malik Willis on the 26-yd completion to Racey McMath. Rolled to the right, had a lane to run but kept eyes down the field, gave McMath an opportunity to come across the field and delivered the ball to him. Positive progress. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Titans?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Titans</a>

Keandre Powell @Iamkeandre_

Malik Willis gone be special

The Titans insist that Ryan Tannehill will be their starting quarterback this season. He hasn't played all preseason, presumably to ensure he is healthy and ready for Week 1 on Sept. 11.

Tannehill has done enough throughout his three-year tenure in Tennessee to warrant another season under center. The Titans have playoff aspirations in 2022 after being the No. 1 seed in the AFC last year. Willis has had some rough patches, particularly throwing the ball, in the preseason to suggest he's not quite ready for a full-time gig.

But Saturday was an indication of Willis' unique and special talents that can make him a high-level quarterback in the NFL if he hits his potential. It's a tall task but one he has looked up to taking on in his first exposure to professional defenses.

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