NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Former Tennessee star quarterback Josh Dobbs will make his first career NFL start tonight for the Titans as they host the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football at Nissan Stadium.
Dobbs replaces rookie Malik Willis, who has been ineffective in three starts this season when pressed into action due to Ryan Tannehill's ankle injuries.
The Titans officially placed Tannehill on Injured Reserve Thursday afternoon along with starting linebackers Bud Dupree and Zach Cunningham, effectively ending their seasons.
Tannehill re-injured his ankle in a Dec. 18th loss to the Chargers and had surgery last week. Willis played Christmas Eve, but completed 14 of 23 passes for just 99 yards and tossed two late interceptions in the loss to the one-win Texans.
Willis has completed just 51% of his passes and has failed to throw for 100 yards in all three of his starts.
The Titans turn to Dobbs, who they signed off the Lions practice squad last week, in an attempt to spark their struggling offense. In six seasons as a backup and practice squad player, Dobbs has played in six NFL games, completing 10 of his 17 passes with an interception.
Dobbs does have experience inside Nissan Stadium. His final game at Tennessee was a Music City Bowl win over Nebraska in which he threw for 291 yards and a touchdown and also ran for 118 yards and three scores.
A graduate of UT's aerospace engineering program, Dobbs has been a quick study with the offense. The Titans hope he's able to make quick decisions and operate the offense more efficiently than an indecisive Willis as they try to decide which QB gives them the best chance to win next week's de facto AFC South title game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.