New Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs already has something somewhat in common with his new mentor Ben Roethlisberger and that’s the fact that he’s already had to play at least one season behind an offensive line that seemed to be a different combination each and every week.
While Roethlisberger having to endure musical chairs with his offensive line during his long NFL career is a little different than Dobbs doing it at the college level, it still had to be quite a challenging task for the former Tennessee quarterback and up until now, one that’s not often talked about.
In case you haven’t heard by now, Dobbs’ 2016 season at Tennessee included him working behind seven different starting offensive line combinations, according to my research. Additionally, he only had one stretch of three games in a row during the middle of the season where he worked with the same starting offensive line. If that’s not enough, Dobbs had to work behind a different starting offensive line combination in six of Tennessee’s final seven games of the 2016 season.
To put that 2016 season into some sort of perspective, Dobbs worked behind five different offensive line combinations during the 2015 season and while that number still seems high, most of those combinations included four players at their normal positions in 9 of 13 games as the right tackle spot is where most of the fluctuation appeared to be. In fact, Tennessee started the same five offensive linemen in their first five games of the 2015 season. Dobbs also had his starting left tackle for all 13 games of the 2015 season and his starting center and right guard for 11 of 13 games.
About the only thing that stayed consistent for Dobbs’ offensive line during the 2016 season was the left guard position as it appears that then-junior Jashon Robertson started 13 of 14 games for Tennessee at the position, according to stats kept on the school’s official website.
Dobbs, by the way, was sacked a total of 25 times during the 2016 season and according to ESPN.com, and only two other quarterbacks in the SEC were sacked more than he was during the year.
While I’m sure Dobbs wasn’t the only quarterback to have to suffer through multiple offensive line combinations during the 2016 season, it’s worth noting his unfortunate circumstances just the same and it will be interesting to see if he’s ultimately asked about it in forthcoming interviews with the Pittsburgh media and how much, if any, he thinks it may have affected his play.
Tennessee 2016 Starting Offensive Line Combinations