In preparation for their biggest game of the season, the Tennessee Titans are once again turning to a player who has not even been on the team for two weeks to run the offense.
The Titans are staying with Joshua Dobbs at quarterback for Saturday's clash with the Jacksonville Jaguars in a game that will determine the winner of the AFC South.
Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel made the decision on Monday, four days after Dobbs made his first career start in a 27-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
“I think he’s ready for the opportunity and looking forward to it,” Vrabel said.
Thursday’s defeat to the Cowboys marked the sixth straight loss for the Titans, dropping them to 7-9 and just behind the 8-8 Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South. The winner of Saturday’s matchup in Jacksonville will secure the division title and fourth seed in the AFC.
Dobbs didn’t do much to impress against the Cowboys, completing 20-of-39 passes for 232 yards with a touchdown and interception. However, he had just been signed off the Detroit Lions' practice squad eight days earlier, so the Titans considered it a good starting point.
"I think that there will be some things that we'll try to add or maybe things that we practiced last week that we didn't run,” Vrabel said. "I think it's just going to be good to have a full week and be able to have first and second down, third down, red zone emphasis — that's probably where him not having been here as much, I think we need to dive into his knowledge of the overall red zone and everything that's going on down there."
Dobbs, a fourth-round selection by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2017, also showed more promise than rookie Malik Willis, who had taken over at quarterback after Ryan Tannehill was placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury.
Willis is 1-2 as a starter while throwing three interceptions without a TD pass. His 234 passing yards in his three starts are two more than Dobbs threw on Thursday.
Willis also had the luxury of playing alongside Derrick Henry in the backfield, while Dobbs played last Thursday without the two-time league rushing leader as he was inactive in Week 17 because of a hip injury.
Henry is slated to return for the winner-take-all matchup with the Jaguars.