Joshua Dobbs has been a part of an NFL playoff team in his six-year career.
Now the journeyman quarterback has the opportunity of a lifetime with his fifth different team — and third this season.
The former University of Tennessee star has a chance to lead the Tennessee Titans into the playoffs with a victory Saturday night in Jacksonville in just his second NFL start.
Not bad for someone signed off Detroit's practice squad on Dec. 21.
No pressure at all.
“I know it is a big game,” Dobbs said Tuesday. “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. I’m excited for it.”
The fourth-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2017 was on the Steelers' playoff teams in 2017 and 2020. The quarterback with a degree in aerospace engineering who has done internships with NASA through the NFL Players Association has been just as busy learning the Titans' game plan as his new teammates' names.
The 6-foot-3, 216-pound Dobbs will be making the eighth appearance of his career.
Dobbs doesn't see Saturday night's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8) as a validation of a journey that has taken him from Pittsburgh to Jacksonville in 2019 and back to Pittsburgh for 2020 and 2021 and stints with Cleveland, a brief stop in Detroit and now back in Tennessee as validation of his career.
This has just been his journey, and now he has the chance to lead the Titans (7-9) to something this franchise hasn't done since the first three years of its existence in the original AFL — three straight division titles — and a fourth straight playoff berth.
“You just have to live in your world, maximize your journey, the opportunities that come, and take advantage of them," Dobbs said. “I’m excited for this one this weekend.”
The Titans chose to start Dobbs over rookie Malik Willis, who is 1-2 as a starter and ran for his lone touchdown this season in his most recent start. Dobbs threw for more yards by halftime than Willis, the third-round pick out of Liberty, had managed in any of his starts. Dobbs finished with 232 yards passing.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Dobbs quickly adjusted despite playing with teammates whose first names he didn't know in last week's 27-13 loss to Dallas. Vrabel also isn't worried about Dobbs being around Tennessee only a short time, noting half the battle is acting like a quarterback.
Vrabel also sees Dobbs as bringing a calming presence and confidence.
“Joshua is going to be very well prepared and understands that we will have to go into a great environment on Saturday night ...,” Vrabel said. "He understands that. He has played quarterback. He has played in front of big crowds. He has played in big games."
One big advantage Dobbs will have in trying to snap the Titans' six-game skid, the franchise's longest since 2015, is having two-time NFL rushing champ Derrick Henry back. The Titans scratched Henry against Dallas despite the running back ranking second in the NFL in rushing.
Henry currently ranks third with 1,429 yards and is tied for second with 13 rushing TDs.
Dobbs, who never beat Henry and Alabama in college, thinks it'll be a lot of fun being in the same backfield.
“I watched Derrick play a lot of football in college across the sideline from him, since being in the league across the sideline from him," Dobbs said. “So he’s a dynamic back, as we all know. I’m excited to hand the ball off to him and watch it from a field perspective, what he’s able to do.”
NOTES: They signed DT Curtis Brooks, DB Shyheim Carter and OLB Sam Okuayinonu to the practice squad.
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