The Tennessee Titans are getting a little weird in Week 17.
The Titans are already sitting many key players, since their Week 18 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars will decide the AFC South championship no matter what happens on Thursday night. But they have added a twist.
Joshua Dobbs, and not rookie Malik Willis, is expected to start at quarterback for the Titans on Thursday night. That was reported first by Justin Melo of the Draft Network and confirmed by multiple outlets.
It's an interesting decision for a few reasons, and it could impact that huge Week 18 game.
Dobbs was signed off the Detroit Lions' practice squad just last week. Dobbs has never started an NFL game and has just 17 passing attempts in the NFL. Those 17 passing attempts with the Pittsburgh Steelers have resulted in a 39.1 passer rating. Dobbs was with the Cleveland Browns this season until he was cut on Nov. 28.
Yet, the Titans have to be doing this for a reason. Perhaps it's to make sure Willis is healthy for Week 18, but you'd assume they'd want to get the rookie some extra reps. Willis has failed to reach 100 yards passing in any of his three starts this season. According to Doug Clawson of CBS, Willis is the first rookie QB to not reach 100 yards passing in his first three starts since 1978, when Doug Williams did it.
Titans place Ryan Tannehill on IR
Hours after Dobbs starting was reported, the Titans placed original starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill on injured reserve with an ankle injury. The move likey ends Tannehill's season.
With Ryan Tannehill out against the Jaguars in Week 18 as well, this looks like an audition for Dobbs. While it seems hard to believe that a player who was on the Lions' practice squad a week ago and has 17 career passes could be the choice to start with a division championship on the line, the Titans haven't gotten much out of Willis. They're on a five-game losing streak. They're desperate.
If Dobbs struggles on Thursday night, the Titans will have a difficult and unenviable decision between him and Willis. And if Dobbs plays well on Thursday, we might get a very unexpected starter for the AFC South championship game next week.