The Titans won’t announce a starter for Week 18 because, for now, they don’t have to. But the best evidence that it will be newcomer Josh Dobbs comes from the fact that he started in Week 17.
The surprising news that Malik Willis wouldn’t play on Thursday night initially seemed like a strategic decision to keep him out of harm’s way in advance of next week’s winner-take-all game at Jacksonville. The fact that Titans coach Mike Vrabel didn’t explain it that way after last night’s 27-13 loss to the Cowboys shows it wasn’t about protecting Willis but about evaluating their in-house option.
And Dobbs did enough to give the Titans confidence that, with running back Derrick Henry at his disposal, Dobbs can operate the offense they way they want it to be operated.
It’s a great development for Dobbs, a fourth-round pick in 2017 who never started an NFL regular-season game until last night, eight days after joining the Titans from the Detroit practice squad. It’s a troubling one for Willis, the eighty-sixth selection in the 2022 draft.
For all the praise heaped upon Vegas when it comes to nailing the betting odds regarding the draft, the oddsmakers flat-out blew it on Willis. He was supposed to be the first quarterback taken. He was the third.
The fact that Vrabel so nonchalantly switched from Willis to Dobbs suggests that, like the A.J. Brown trade, the Willis selection was part of the divide between Vrabel and now-former G.M. Jon Robinson.
If Willis was a Vrabel guy, Vrabek wouldn’t have benched Willis, a young player who needs live reps, for a journeyman who wasn’t even on anyone’s active roster two weeks ago. The fact that Vrabel did it — and that Dobbs passed the eyeball test — points directly to Dobbs being the quarterback next weekend in Jacksonville.
The best evidence Josh Dobbs will start in Week 18 is his Week 17 start originally appeared on Pro Football Talk