The Titans are playing their second preseason game on Saturday against the Vikings, and the contest was expected to be a key moment in the team’s backup quarterback battle.
Tennessee’s projected starting quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, was expected to sit out the second preseason game. As such, it was presumed that Malik Willis and Will Levis would see equal action as each looks to stake his claim to the team’s No. 2 quarterback job.
Instead, the game will be a showcase outing for Willis. Why? Because Levis is dealing with an injury that will keep him out of action against the Vikings.
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Here’s what to know about Levis’ injury and what it could mean for the Titans both on Saturday and beyond.
Is Will Levis playing today?
No, Levis is not playing in preseason Week 2 against the Vikings. He is dealing with an injury that will keep him out of action. Willis will start for the Titans and will get a chance to play the entire game.
Will Levis injury update
According to ESPN’s Turron Davenport, Levis is dealing with a lower-body injury that he suffered during a joint practice with the Vikings on Thursday.
It isn’t clear exactly when Levis — who participated in most of the practice — suffered the injury. However, he left the field with coach Mike Vrabel in the final 15 minutes of the session when the two teams were participating in the two-minute period.
The Titans may just be playing it safe with Levis, so his status will bear monitoring ahead of the team’s final preseason game. That will take place on Friday, Aug. 25 against the Patriots.
If the 2023 second-round pick can’t play in that contest, it seems likely that he will start the season as Tennessee’s third-string quarterback behind Tannehill and Willis.
Titans QB depth chart
As it stands, Levis is the No. 3 quarterback on the Titans’ depth chart, a unit that contains only three players.
Tannehill is going to begin the season as the Titans’ starter and may hold onto the job during the final year of his $128 million contract. The team’s backup job was a bit less settled, but it would now appear that Willis has the inside track to earn that role.
Willis opened the 2022 season — his rookie campaign — as the Titans’ backup but eventually lost the job to Joshua Dobbs. He struggled throwing the ball and generating offense, but he has demonstrated improvement in that area in 2023. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 189 yards during his first preseason outing, though he didn’t throw a touchdown and threw one interception.
Comparatively, Levis completed 9 of 14 passes for 85 yards and an interception in his preseason debut. The performances were somewhat comparable, but given Willis’ added mobility and his experience in the Tennessee offense, he was believed to be ahead of the rookie in the quarterback battle.
Now, he will get a chance to widen that gap as he plays the whole game on Saturday.