The third-string quarterback is both one of the easiest and the most difficult jobs in the NFL. It’s the easiest because unless something goes horribly wrong, there is barely any work available for you. It’s the most difficult because unless something goes horribly wrong, there is barely and work available for you.
You don’t have to do much to be a third-string quarterback in the NFL. But you also don’t get to do much as a third-string quarterback, either, which makes it quite difficult to actually move up the ladder. That is where second-year quarterback Joshua Dobbs finds himself, so when Head Coach Mike Tomlin told him to start finding work once the regular season started, he heeded that advice.
The fourth-round pick actually got the opportunity to work extensively in the preseason as a rookie. Ben Roethlisberger did not play a snap, and Landry Jones missed a good deal of time while nursing an injury. Jones was the king of preseason snaps for the past few years, but Dobbs took over that role this past year.
Once the team headed back to the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex and they got their game against the Carolina Panthers out of the way it became a different story though. The time for development was over. Everything is suddenly about the upcoming opponent and how to beat them, not how to get better when you’re not playing.
“He told me to make sure I’m getting extra reps after practice”, Dobbs told the Steelers’ website about Tomlin’s advice heading into the regular season. “It was something I had already planned on because I had a feeling that was going to be the case. Every day it was just finding somebody to throw with, whether it was working a different route, whether it was working on something in the game plan”.
So what was he looking for in a workout partner? “Someone with hands”, he said. “That’s all we need. We’re not too picky”.
It probably won’t come to you as a shock that Antonio Brown used that opportunity to find “someone with an arm” to get extra reps in after practice himself. In spite of the fact that he is literally the best in the world at his particular job, he still puts in more work than just any anybody else at it.
“He loves to get extra catches in”, Dobbs said. “If there was a route or something that he didn’t feel good with in practice, he would always stay after and run a couple routes”.
He also talked about working a lot with the team’s practice squad receivers, which should be no surprise. Marcus Tucker and Justin Thomas got their own work in by pairing up with Dobbs. Fitzgerald Toussaint and Xavier Grimble, two other players continuing to look to ascend, found a willing after-practice live arm in the fourth-round pick.
“You’ve got to treat them like they’re game reps. You’re still looking at the play, figuring out the progression from the spot”, he said about his practice time he did get. “You go out and you’re trying to enact it and complete the ball, make as many completions as you can. Practice reps were crucial. That’s the major development that you’re getting throughout the year, so you’ve got to take advantage of those”.