During the Tennessee Titans’ Week 8 win over the Atlanta Falcons, fans were not interested in seeing 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis whenever he was substituted in for rookie quarterback Will Levis.
Fans booed the Liberty product when he stepped on the field, something his teammates weren’t thrilled about. Fellow quarterback Will Levis, running back Derrick Henry and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins all expressed frustration with the treatment Willis received from the home crowd.
“That left a sour taste in all of our mouths hearing those boos when he was coming on the field,” Levis said, per Jim Wyatt. “We’ve got to know that he’s going to be a big part of us going forward to win games, so let’s just come correct next time as fans and treat him correctly.
“I understand fans are frustrated when we lose and it’s not going the way we all planned, but we’re all frustrated,” Henry said, per Wyatt. “We’re all a family, so it doesn’t help being booed when you’re just trying to go in there and make a play… I just feel like (the booing) isn’t needed for somebody that just came in to help us win. Malik is a great kid and a great person and he’ll do anything to help this organization win.”
“For Titans fans, us in the locker room, we don’t appreciate the boos for Malik,” said DeAndre Hopkins. “He’s on this team and he’s part of us. That’s not something I expected coming here, and I don’t think that’s very fair.”
After a week of head coach Mike Vrabel suggesting Willis and Levis could alternate series, the second-year signal-caller played just a handful of snaps, one of which resulted in a lost fumble after a botched snap.
I’m just guessing here, but I think the boos were really directed more at Vrabel and the coaching staff for taking Levis out rather than it being directed at Willis himself.
Whatever the case may be, it’ll be interesting to see the response from fans the next time Willis is put into a game at Nissan Stadium. However, we’ll have to wait until Week 12, as the Titans are set for a three-game road trip.