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Titans' Malik Willis focused on mastering 'in-between' situations as runner and thrower in rookie season

NASHVILLE, Tennessee — The intrigue surrounding the Tennessee Titans’ rookie quarterback grew this week. On Saturday night, Music City got its first look at a potential future quarterback for Malik Willis. However, so far only one of these facets has fully moved to the next level.

Despite an impressive overall preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens, Willis was actually pulled out of the contest in the third quarter. Willis threw more passes Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with him attempting 17 compared to his 11 last week, but it’s clear he’s still on track. is.

In fact, Willis scored the first passing touchdown by an NFL player just before halftime. A six-yard hookup with fellow rookie Chigoziem Okoncuo. It was a special moment for Willis, but the main takeaway for him from the play was that he stayed in his pocket.

“It was cool. Everyone did their job. I finally stood there once,” Willis said. “O-Line did a great job. Chig opened up for me and everyone else ran good routes and it worked out.”

Staying in the pocket, stepping up in the pocket, and going through progression were obvious to Willis and the Titans’ coaching staff last week. was given.

“Well, I felt a little more comfortable, but that doesn’t mean I feel comfortable,” Willis said. It’s not just because I can go out when I want to sometimes, it’s about understanding when and when I’m not, and it’s like, ‘Why am I a little disappointed in myself?’ I think I’ve gone a little too far, but it’s a growing process, and this is my second preseason game, and I’m not going to be too hard on myself in that regard.”

Willis knows he shouldn’t be so hard on himself after his second NFL game. Check out his run for this 25 yards in the 2nd quarter. The rookie consciously stepped into his pocket. He made the decision to go up, but he knew when to take off. He was looking downfield – his body showed us he was about to fire – but he quickly flipped the switch.

Overall, Willis gained 80 yards on 7 of 17 passes, completed one touchdown, and rushed five times for 42 yards. He said he did a little better in his pocket in his second game of the preseason compared to the first. For a dynamic playmaker like Willis, diagnosing what he describes as “in-between” takes time.

“I’ve been thinking about it. It’s a little better than the first week,” Willis said. “Stayed there and got a few checkdowns that got it right away. But not a lot. I think that’s what I need to focus on. From when I need to play and in the meantime Keep finding it in. , make a play, and when it’s not, climb into the pocket and help get the O-line out.”

Willis has the arms and legs to succeed in the NFL. Now, it’s all about figuring out how to use them in the right situations. It shows that he’s definitely aware of the aspects that matter most. Another reason why NFL fans should be excited about this kid.