AFC South Reporter
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Josh Dobbs joined the Titans eight days in the past, signed off the Lions’ apply squad to Tennessee’s 53-man roster. He had a brand new playbook and terminology to study, on the fly late within the season, on the most troublesome place in soccer: quarterback. And earlier than Thursday’s sport towards the Cowboys, he hadn’t taken a regular-season NFL snap since January 2021. Almost two years.
Dobbs hadn’t began an NFL sport since … ever.
Regardless of all that, and a 27-13 loss to Dallas, this appears like a good conclusion: Dobbs provides the Titans (7-9) one of the best probability to high the ascending Jaguars (7-8) in subsequent week’s AFC South title sport. Rookie Malik Willis ought to stay benched.
Thursday basically served as a tryout for Dobbs, a journeyman backup who was a 2017 fourth-round pick of Tennessee. Starter Ryan Tannehill is formally out for the remainder of the common season (he was positioned on injured reserve earlier Thursday). And Willis, a 2022 third-round pick of Liberty, has struggled mightily in Tannehill’s absence.
The Titans needed to be one hundred pc positive that Dobbs couldn’t give them a greater probability than Willis to achieve the playoffs. Following Tennessee’s sixth consecutive loss, coach Mike Vrabel was noncommittal on who’d get the beginning nod subsequent week at Jacksonville. However after simply 4 quarters at Nissan Stadium, Dobbs appears to be like like the higher possibility.
“It’s a singular scenario and an exquisite alternative that I actually embraced and had plenty of enjoyable with,” the 27-year-old Dobbs mentioned.
In Thursday’s defeat — a sport meaningless to Tennessee’s playoff stakes, and with the crew down a number of starters — Dobbs was in a position to transfer the offense higher than Willis has all yr. The veteran accomplished 51.3% of his passes (20-of-39) for 232 yards, together with 143 by halftime, and his first profession landing towards a Cowboys protection enjoying all of its high guys. Willis didn’t contact 100 passing yards or have a passing landing in any of his three begins.
At occasions Thursday, Dobbs seemed each bit like a signal-caller who hadn’t performed significant soccer shortly. He threw a nasty interception within the fourth quarter. He had two close to interceptions and two fumbles, together with one misplaced, within the first half. However his operation of an offense he’s nonetheless studying seemed comparatively clear. He had some good throws on the transfer. He confirmed the fast decision-making and processing within the pocket that Willis has struggled with. His numbers would have been even higher if not for just a few drops by Titans receivers, too.
“There are little issues situationally that I’m already conscious of that I do know I can get higher [at],” Dobbs mentioned. “After all, that comes with extra reps and being on the market and getting hit for the primary time shortly. So I’m not too frightened about these. I do know I’ll clear these up. Excited to dive into the tape with the coaches and proceed to develop and enhance as shortly as potential to present the crew one of the best probability that we’ve to win.”
Dobbs flashed a capability to bounce again early within the second quarter. He prevented and averted catastrophe on the identical play, scooping up the ball after being stripped after which almost getting picked off on a throw-away. Two performs later, he linked on a 39-yard shot to vast receiver Racey McMath.
Proper earlier than the half, Dobbs hit rookie Treylon Burks for a powerful 30-yard reception down the sideline that arrange a brief area aim from Randy Bullock, which minimize Tennessee’s deficit to 10-6 in a sport nobody anticipated to be shut.
General, Dobbs had three passing performs of a minimum of 30 yards. Willis has only one such completion within the six video games he is tried a go.
“[Dobbs] performed his sport,” mentioned Robert Woods, who had 5 receptions for 39 yards and a landing. “Was in a position to give us alternatives to make performs.”
Willis is clearly the extra bodily gifted participant, possessing a dynamic operating potential and a knack for off-platform throws. However Hobbs appears to be like like the higher quarterback right this moment to run this model of the Titans offense, which hasn’t discovered consistency all season amid points with go defending, go catching and second-half execution.
“Shoot, we’re throwing routes on the market on the sphere that we haven’t even thrown on the market in apply due to a brief week,” Dobbs mentioned. “With the ability to make these performs all through the sport, hopefully that may propel us into this upcoming week, the place we’ll even have a full week to organize for the sport.”
With all that’s gone fallacious this yr, the Titans nonetheless management their future. It’s “win-and-in” subsequent week at Jacksonville.
That destiny must be in Dobbs’ palms.
High tales from FOX Sports activities:
Ben Arthur is the AFC South reporter for FOX Sports activities. He beforehand labored for The Tennessean/USA TODAY Community, the place he was the Titans beat author for a yr and a half. He coated the Seattle Seahawks for SeattlePI.com for 3 seasons (2018-20) previous to transferring to Tennessee. You possibly can comply with Ben on Twitter at @benyarthur.
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Publish date: 2022-12-30 11:48:35
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