National Football League
Titans hope subtle Will Levis tweak will reap major rewards in his second season
National Football League

Titans hope subtle Will Levis tweak will reap major rewards in his second season

Published Jun. 25, 2024 12:07 p.m. ET

The decision to make a change came from collaboration. 

Will Levis knew he didn't throw at his best as a rookie. The ball wasn't coming out of his hand as he would've liked it to. That led to conversations with the Titans' new offensive staff — specifically with head coach Brian Callahan, offensive coordinator Nick Holz and quarterbacks coach Bo Hardegree — about why that may be. 

After "messing around with things," as Levis put it, the strong-armed quarterback feels he's in a good spot entering his second season.

"Quarterbacks are weirdos," Levis said. "We're always tweaking with something. We always feel like something might be off." 


Levis has made a small change to his lower-body mechanics, positioning his feet in a way that Callahan says will allow him to better play on time within the progressions of the passing game. The goal is to take advantage of his arm strength to create more big plays. 

According to Pro Football Focus, just 22% of Levis' throws last season were "big-time throws" (defined by the website as "a pass with excellent ball location and timing, generally thrown further down the field and/or into a tighter window"). That ranked 26th of 40 qualified quarterbacks. 

Of the 31 quarterbacks who dropped back at least 292 times last season, Levis also had the lowest completion rate (58.4%) and completion rate above expectation (-3.2%), according to Next Gen Stats. 

Levis' base, Callahan said, was emphasized during the offseason program. 

"All the really great quarterbacks play with a great base and are able to take a really short first step and the ball comes out," Callahan said. "So you tie those mechanical things with an already really natural quick release that Will has, I think it's only going to help him. But a lot of it is more the discipline and the footwork leading into the base at the top of the drop, where he can generate even more power than he's already got and helps him play more on time within the system framework." 

The mechanical tweak is one of a number of changes Levis is looking to embrace in his second season. Individual tweaks aside, the Titans will boast a pass-first scheme built around Levis — a change from the Derrick Henry-led offenses under Mike Vrabel. 

"A lot of drop-back game in situations where we might not have seen that last year," Levis said of the Titans' new scheme. "Being able to throw the ball a little bit more. Obviously, that comes with the trust in the quarterback, but I have to earn that. But [Callahan] making a point to me, ‘Hey, we're going to throw the ball. We're going to throw the ball on first down. We're going to throw the ball in all types of situations, and it's going to be on you and we're going to trust you to do it.' It makes you want to go out there to be the guy to do that. 

"A lot of moving parts," he continued. "A lot of things to make the defense think. A lot of things similar to what we did last year, but also just little bits of pieces that are new that we haven't seen. It's cool. It's a fun offense."

Can Will Levis lead the Titans to the playoffs?

In that offense, Levis will be throwing to a revamped receiver room, which added veterans Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd. Ridley, Boyd and holdover DeAndre Hopkins give Tennessee one of the NFL's top receiver trios on paper. They have a combined 11 1,000-yard receiving seasons, 1,765 receptions and 22,713 receiving yards. 

"It helps a ton," Callahan said of what the veteran trio means for Levis. "They've got great knowledge and experience. Productive players in the league. They've done it. And that helps when you've got a young quarterback that is starting as a full-time starter for the first time. Having a veteran presence, a veteran perspective, veteran opinions will help his development." 

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Overall, the Titans coaches are pleased with the progress Levis has made in light of all the changes. 

"He's really as coachable a quarterback that I think you can find," Holz said. "He takes all of the instruction. He doesn't really fight you on anything. He's got ideas and, ‘Hey, this is why I'm doing this.' … I'm not sure I've ever been around a guy who's so in touch with his [mechanics]. He's very focused on it. He has a very big understanding of it all. He's got a reason for why he's done it, but if we show him stuff on film … he takes it to heart like that. You can see the intention out there. 

"It's been really impressive from that standpoint of, ‘OK, they said this. Let's do this. Let's make this my focus of the day,'" Holz continued. "He's done that every day without fail. It's been really cool from that standpoint."

Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports. He previously worked for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Network, where he was the Titans beat writer for a year and a half. He covered the Seattle Seahawks for for three seasons (2018-20) prior to moving to Tennessee. You can follow Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.


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