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Josh Dobbs to start at QB for Tennessee Titans Thursday night

Former Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Josh Dobbs last saw action in an NFL regular-season game back in 2020 when he was a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. In all, Dobbs has thrown 17 regular-season passes since beng selected in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

That’s going to change Thursday night as a struggling Tennessee Titans team hosts the Dallas Cowboys to open up the Week 17 slate.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Dobbs is slated to start under center for the Titans as they battle for a playoff spot. Dobbs, 27, was just picked up off the Detroit Lions’ practice squad a week ago after it became apparent that QB1 Ryan Tannehill would miss the remainder of the season.

This decision comes with rookie Malik Willis having struggled big time under center for the Titans since Tannehill went down with an ankle injury back in Week 15. Willis threw for just 99 yards on 23 attempts with two interceptions in an ugly Week 16 loss to a previously one-win Houston Texans squad.

Related: Updated NFL Playoff scenarios

Tennessee Titans starting Josh Dobbs is a means to an end

josh dobbs, tennessee titans
Andrew Nelles/The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

It’s rather simple. No matter what happens this week, Tennessee’s Week 18 outing against the Jacksonville Jaguars will decide the AFC South. The two division rivals boast a 7-8 record heading into this week’s action, meaning there’s no scenario in play that can clinch the division for either team.

By starting Dobbs, Tennessee wants to see if it can expand on a passing game that’s been among the worst in the NFL. Remember, two-time reigning rushing champion Derrick Henry is also doubtful in this game to injury.

  • Josh Dobbs stats: 58% completion, 45 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 39.1 QB rating

In reality, Tennessee could be treating Thursday’s game against the heavily-favored Cowboys as a mere preseason outing with the expectation that some of the players sitting will be rested and 100% ready to go for Week 18’s do-or-die game against Jacksonville. Losers of five consecutive after a 7-4 start to the season, that’s the best-case scenario.