On Saturday January 7 former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Josh Dobbs will start for the Tennessee Titans in a winner-take-all regular-season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars, with the victor earning the right to host a postseason game by virtue of winning the AFC South. It’s a scenario that seemed almost inconceivable a month ago, when Dobbs was a member of the Detroit Lions practice squad, where he landed after getting waived by the Cleveland Browns on November 28.
But on Tuesday January 3 — a day after Titans head coach Mike Vrabel officially named him the starter against the Jaguars — Dobbs addressed the media and talked about how excited he is to lead his team in what amounts to a playoff game. It will be his second consecutive start, the first of which came against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football.
Josh Dobbs: ‘It’s What You Dream Of’
“The game and obviously the magnitude of the game, everything around it, it’s what you dream of playing in (the) NFL,” Dobbs said. “You want to play meaningful football, especially in December and January, right? You want to play in those playoff games. I have watched and been a part of teams that have been a part of it,” added the former 4th-round pick, who had a chance to watch postseason games from the sideline while a backup for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who drafted him No. 135 overall in 2017.
More than anything, Dobbs sounded appreciative about the chance to show what he can do.
“I am thankful to be here, as a part of this team. Just the way the guys have welcomed me in and allowed me to come in and be myself. I am excited to lead this weekend. I know it’s a big game, obviously. I haven’t been here the entire year, but any time you have a chance to go to the playoffs it is a tremendous opportunity, and I am excited for it.”
Dobbs Earned the Right to Start By Outperforming Malik Willis
Dobbs would not be starting a second consecutive game had he not performed admirably in a 27-13 loss to the Cowboys on December 29 — a game that the Titans played without many key starters, including Pro Bowl running back Derrick Henry, who has rushed for 1,429 yards with 13 touchdowns in 2022.
In the Cowboys game, Dobbs completed 20-of-39 passes for 232 yards with one touchdown and one interception, good for a 67.5 passer rating. That might not seem overly inspiring, except when you compare that to Malik Willis’ track record (1-2 as a starter, with a 42.8 passer rating).
“I thought he was decisive, and he did a nice job of progressing through when we gave him time,” Vrabel said of Dobbs and his first start. “I thought he tried to take the opportunity and run with it and lead. I just think he gives us the best chance right now.”
That said, Tennessee is in the midst of a six-game losing streak that predates Dobbs’ arrival. The Titans haven’t won a game since defeating the Green Bay Packers on November 17. That includes a 36-22 loss to the Jaguars in Nashville on December 11.
Dobbs has been with the Titans since December 22, when Tennessee signed him to its 53-man roster, a move that came in the wake of a season-ending ankle injury to Titans starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill. He moved to the top of Tennessee’s depth chart days later after the Titans benched rookie 3rd-round pick Malik Willis in favor of Dobbs.