Desperate teams during desperate times take desperate measures. Exhibit A: The Tennessee Titans have benched rookie Malik Willis and will start Josh Dobbs at quarterback Thursday night against the Dallas Cowboys.
Tennessee Titans To Start Josh Dobbs in Week 17
The news came less than eight hours before the kickoff of Thursday’s prime-time game. And it says as much (if not more) about Willis as it says about Dobbs.
Willis, in seven NFL appearances, has garish stats:
- Completion percentage: 50.8
- Adjusted yards per attempt: 2.3
- Interception percentage: 4.9
- Passer rating: 42.8
- QBR: 12.1
Add it all together and you have arguably the worst quarterback in the NFL right now.
And with Ryan Tannehill out indefinitely with an ankle injury, that left the Titans — who have lost five straight but still would make the playoffs with a Week 18 win over the Jaguars — with no good options.
Willis, a third-round pick out of Liberty, was always going to be a developmental player. But this season has revealed just how much development he needs.
Willis ranks 52nd in EPA+CPOE (-.022) out of the 56 NFL quarterbacks who have logged at least 50 offensive snaps this year.
Who Is Josh Dobbs?
He’s been so bad that the Titans are giving a shot to another non-starting caliber QB who has been with the organization for all of one week. The Titans claimed Dobbs off the Detroit Lions’ practice squad last week when the severity of Tannehill’s injury became apparent.
Dobbs, 27, is in his fifth different locker room in six NFL seasons. He was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth round of the 2017 draft, and Pittsburgh is the only team to put him in a game before Thursday.
Dobbs has completed 10 of 17 passes in the NFL for 45 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception.
Dobbs is best known for his college exploits. He threw for over 7,000 yards and 53 touchdowns in four seasons at the University of Tennessee — where he was an aerospace engineering major. So yeah, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out Dobbs is smart.
The Steelers took him late in the fourth round based on upside. Dobbs ran a 4.64 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine but was widely viewed as too raw to play right away — and at all, without some big-time development.
He gets an opportunity in what should be a low-stress game. Win or lose, the Titans are guaranteed to play an elimination game against the surging Jaguars in Week 18.