By David Bradford, for VFL Insider
A number of former Vols made their preseason debuts on Thursday and Friday, including star quarterback Joshua Dobbs, versatile running back Alvin Kamara, big-play wide receiver Josh Malone and record-breaking defensive end Derek Barnett.
Each managed to impress in different ways, proving that Butch Jones is truly turning Tennessee into a football factory once again.
Dobbs settles in after shaky start
The final stat line doesn’t appear all that impressive — 8-of-15, 100 yards, TD, 2 INT — but Dobbs utilized his valuable reps and showcased a few attributes that make him a worthwhile quarterback.
After throwing two early interceptions — one of which came as a result of his arm being hit, while the other was a poor read — Dobbs was essentially flawless in the second and third quarters. He completed a beautiful 44-yard pass, scrambled for 16 yards on a key third down, and launched a perfect 28-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Dobbs even had another touchdown pass waved off due to holding. On the play, the Aerospace Engineer maneuvered around the backfield before delivering a strike between two defenders.
While Dobbs isn’t the most technically sound quarterback or the most accurate, what makes him a worthwhile player in the NFL is his ability to move on from mistakes. He appeared overwhelmed from the onset, but quickly turned it around and executed a respectable performance.
All in all, Pittsburgh should be pleased with its third-string quarterback.
Joshua Dobbs’ first NFL (preseason) TD pass pic.twitter.com/eEJphyXbcH
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) August 12, 2017
Barnett dominates in Lambeau
Another game, another dominant performance by Derek Barnett. On Thursday, the soft-spoken Barnett terrorized Lambeau Field, recording 4 tackles and a pair of sacks.
Vol fans weren’t shocked by this. After all, Barnett broke Reggie White’s school sack record. So far, Barnett — who is playing for the team White was drafted by — is making the Minister of Defense proud.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 11, 2017
Kamara electric for the Saints
After being under-utilized by Butch in college, Kamara is finally receiving the shine he deserves. Due to the crowded backfield in New Orleans, Kamara likely won’t receive a plethora of opportunities during his rookie season, but when the ball is in his hands, expect plays like this:
Alvin Kamara runs into a wall, then bounces it outside. pic.twitter.com/7o4VW2IoAG
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) August 11, 2017
Malone scores touchdown for Cincinnati
Malone doesn’t have the national recognition teammate Josh Ross has, but that’ll change during the upcoming years. His combination of size and speed will send catapult him up the depth chart despite the Bengals having so many young weapons.
Against Tampa Bay on Friday night, Malone caught two passes, one being a touchdown. The only thing surprising about it was the fact that it wasn’t off a 40-yard bomb.
— Cagen Cantrell (@CeeingTheDraft) August 12, 2017