Bord Foren

logo-news

Dobbs’ Vikings debut was a winner. What can the ‘passtronaut’ do for an encore vs. the Saints?

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Joshua Dobbs has bounced around the NFL like the quintessential backup quarterback, lending an attractive combination of athleticism, experience and intelligence to seven teams in seven years even if none of them have committed to him as a long-term starter.

Perhaps his career is about to really take off. His nickname is the “passtronaut,” after all.

Just five days after Minnesota acquired him from Arizona in an emergency trade following the season-ending injury for Kirk Cousins, Dobbs rescued the Vikings in Atlanta for their fourth consecutive victory.

“I want to say surprising, but then again it’s not really surprising once you get to know him,” Vikings running back Alexander Mattison said. “The time he puts in to be prepared, it definitely makes sense.”

Other news
New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) scrambles against Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the third quarter of an NFL football game, Monday, Nov. 6, 2023, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)Rejuvenated Chargers defense has difficult challenge against Goff and high-powered Lions offenseBuffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) is brought down by a host of Cincinnati Bengals defenders during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)Slumping Bills seek a spark as they prepared to host the rested BroncosChicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields walks to the locker room injured during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023, in Chicago. On Field's jersey is the football and No. 51 patch honoring Dick Butkus. Fields never returned to the game. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields out again because of dislocated right thumb

Dobbs had quite the week, beating his hometown team with a made-for-TV rally in his Vikings debut and drawing praise that transcended the football world into, well, outer space.

An aerospace engineering major at Tennessee, Dobbs even got a postgame social media shoutout from NASA. When he played for Cleveland, he spent regular time at NASA’s research center indulging his other lifelong passion. When he was with Jacksonville, Dobbs also took part in an offseason internship program through the NFL Players Association that provided him a monthlong experience at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Dobbs had no such immersion with Minnesota’s offense last week, with the Vikings focused on preparing rookie Jaren Hall to start. When Hall went down with a concussion in the first quarter, he was pressed into duty. After a couple of hasty voiceovers to get the linemen used to his snap cadence and surviving a sack for a safety and two lost fumbles the Falcons turned into field goals, Dobbs found his groove and guided the Vikings to the 31-28 win.

READ:   Rangers sack Michael Beale after 10 months in charge at Ibrox

Soon, the feel-good story will fade. Dobbs will make his first start Sunday for the Vikings (5-4) against a difficult New Orleans defense.

“If you don’t show up and play next week, then no one cares about last week,” Dobbs said, “so I’m excited for the next opportunity to go out and compete.”

The Saints (5-4) have yet to beat a team with a winning record. This would be an ideal time for them to do that, on the road with sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

“The teams that are playing and dancing in January, you see they strung games together and they got hot at the right time and they kept it moving,” running back Alvin Kamara said.

CONTAINMENT CONCERNS

Saints coach Dennis Allen has repeatedly bemoaned the struggle by his defensive front against mobile quarterbacks this season. Last week, Chicago rookie Tyson Bagent rushed for 70 yards. Dobbs can move, too, as evidenced by his 324 rushing yards that rank second among NFL quarterbacks this season behind Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson (440).

“This is more about rush integrity, rush lanes, making sure we’re not giving the quarterback easy escape lanes,” Allen said. “There’s certain things we’ve got to do a better job of, knowing that this is a player that really can hurt you with his legs if you’re really not careful. And yet, if you just let him stand back there in the pocket all day long, he can hurt you with his arm, too.”

HOLDING THE LINE

The Saints have enjoyed improved offensive line play in recent weeks after struggling earlier in both run blocking and pass protection earlier. James Hurst, who played left tackle last season, has moved inside to left guard. Andrus Peat has moved from left guard to left tackle, where he played in college at Stanford.

READ:   Retiring Miguel Cabrera to become special assistant to Tigers president Scott Harris

“He’s done a really good job. It’s very obvious,” Hurst said. “Physically, he’s super talented, super gifted, tall, has got great length, great power, great lower-body strength.”

YOU’RE UP

Dobbs wasn’t the only Vikings player who shined on short notice last week. David Quessenberry filled in at left tackle after Christian Darrisaw suffered a groin injury in practice Friday and got one of the game balls from coach Kevin O’Connell. Quessenberry, a cancer survivor whose NFL debut was delayed by lymphoma treatments until 2017, four years after he was drafted, has 27 career starts.

“I’ve seen some crazy situations, guys with food poisoning before, guys rolling their ankle walking down the stairs,” Quessenberry said. “I’ve seen it all, so when you get news like that it’s kind of like, ‘OK, you know your job,’ and let’s roll.”

STAYING GROUNDED

The Vikings are fifth in the NFL in rushing yards allowed per play, by far their best ranking since 2018 in one of the most remarkable signs of progress under new defensive coordinator Brian Flores. Danielle Hunter, who leads the league with 10 sacks, has been just as impactful as a run-stopper as he has an edge rusher as evidenced by a second-quarter goal-line stand the Vikings made against the Falcons to stay within one score.

“Hopefully we’re not even close to our ceiling,” defensive tackle Harrison Phillips said.

___

AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL