The journey toward the 2017 season is now in full swing with the Pittsburgh Steelers having reported to Latrobe for their annual training camp at Saint Vincent College, where they have held their camps for over half a century now.
This is surely the time more than any other in which we find ourselves full of questions that we are looking to get answered, and this also tends to be the best time to get answers to those questions that have been building up over the course of time since the 2016 season ended.
You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the training camp and the preseason as they develop, and beyond, looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they try to navigate their way back to the Super Bowl, after reaching the AFC Championship game last season for the first time in more than half a decade.
Question: How will Joshua Dobbs perform working with the first-team offense in the preseason opener?
As head coach Mike Tomlin confirmed yesterday, the plan for tomorrow’s preseason opener is to have rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs start the game. With Landry Jones still on the shelf with an abdominal injury and Ben Roethlisberger too valuable to play in the game, Dobbs and fourth-stringer Bart Houston will get all the work.
Of course, the rookie will not have a full complement alongside him. Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Martavis Bryant, and Sammie Coates all will not be out there. Maurkice Pouncey will not, almost assuredly. Alejandro Villanueva may not as well as he recovers from a possible concussion, and Marcus Gilbert may sit as well. Others like Justin Houston could be questionable. He missed the past two days of practice.
But he will have JuJu Smith-Schuster and Eli Rogers, the top two wide receivers who are healthy aside from Brown, as well as Darrius Heyward-Bey. They should all see a lot of work in the first half, and Houston may get a lot of his work with Canaan Severin and Marcus Tucker.
But what everybody is really wondering about here is Dobbs. How will he look? It will be interesting to see what sort of secondary the Giants throw out there for the preseason opener, as they have one of the most talented units in the league among starters, so if the rookie faces much of that unit, it should be a good test.
Through the current point to date in training camp, Dobbs has had his highs and lows. He makes the rookie mistakes, but he learns from them. His velocity has been fine, but his accuracy has waivered, especially on short and intermediate throws.
But he has shown a great deal of poise and a feel for the game. He has a good command of the huddle, according to some of his teammates. Now is when he starts to show why the Steelers drafted him.