The battle for the Tennessee Titans backup quarterback job may be much closer than most thought it would be.

Entering training camp, it seemed like a forgone conclusion that the Titans would be keeping three quarterbacks on their roster, and fifth year veteran Logan Woodside would remain the backup to Ryan Tannehill, as rookie Malik Willis would take time to develop.

Willis might have come into camp far behind Tannehill and Woodside, but it certainly feels like his recent play has narrowed the margin, and the battle might be heating up.

During the Titans preseason opener in Baltimore on Thursday night, Willis outplayed Woodside. Willis threw for 107 yards in the first half and scored an impressive rushing touchdown, while Woodside threw two interceptions and had five less yards (102) on 13 more pass attempts (24).

Willis’ performance in Baltimore also had it’s flaws, and I would still assume Woodside is ahead in the Titans’ eyes, but here’s the problem.

Woodside’s advantage over Willis was that he was more reliable. He knows the offense, he gets through his progressions quicker, and he’s less prone to turnovers. Except now, Woodside has been struggling to protect the football.

Woodside followed up his two interception performance in Baltimore by throwing a 100-yard pick six on his second throw of 7-on-7 during Saturday’s practice.

In Friday’s press conference, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel insinuated that the backup QB job was still an open competition. After practice on Saturday, Vrabel elaborated on what he’s hoping to see out of his QBs:

The backup quarterback job will likely ending up coming down to one question:

Can Logan Woodside reassert himself as the more reliable option for the Titans in case Ryan Tannehill goes down?

If the answer to that isn’t definitive, Willis’ athleticism and playmaking ability could be enough to earn him the job.

That may be an uncomfortable thought, and it would require the Titans to change heir offensive identity if Willis is playing in a game, but if Woodside isn’t not a more trustworthy option, the upside of Willis is worth it.

Joint practices this week with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the final two preseason games will be huge for both quarterbacks to earn the trust of their coaches by week one.

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