On the surface, it’s fair to count Josh Dobbs as the odd man out. Mason Rudolph is the shiny Jaguar you get on Your Sweet 16. Ben Roethlisberger is the BMW you’ve loved forever, even if it’s annoyingly high-maintenance, and Landry Jones is the Jeep Wrangler than get you through the rough patches, even if it shouldn’t be your daily driver. Dobbs is the boring Camry that’s just sort of…there.
Of course, don’t count him out so easily. He has a year under his belt, in the system, and has won these types of battles before.
Speaking to reporters during OTAs, Dobbs said the expectation is to always compete for a spot when you’re playing in a level like the NFL.
“You’re weathered,” he said. “You’ve been in that situation. I did a similar thing in college. You can’t really expect to get into the NFL and not expect you have to compete. That would be counter intuitive, right? Whenever you’re able to come out and compete, it’s a great opportunity. It’s on the biggest stage. It’s everything you’ve dreamed of.”
Dobbs played five games his freshman year at Tennessee and struggled, completing under 60% of his passes and throwing six picks to only a pair of touchdowns. Dobbs battled Justin Worley and others, including former Pitt QB Nathan Peterman, who eventually transferred out of UT, before Dobbs took over full-time as a junior and leading them to back-to-back nine-win seasons. It’s a road he’s been down before.
With Roethlisberger missing most of the OTA sessions, Dobbs has gotten more reps than normal and as we wrote about last week, is doing everything he can to take advantage of them. He has been mixing in with Rudolph as part of the second-team while Jones runs with the starters.
It’s no secret that either Jones or Dobbs will not make the 53 man roster. Much of that decision could come down to how well Rudolph plays; if he lights it up the way the Steelers feel like he can do one day, Jones could become the odd man out. But Dobbs will get to show what he can do too and make that choice even tougher.
To his credit, as you’d expect, things have slowed down from Year One to Year Two and Dobbs feels much more confident.
“It’s definitely grown,” he said of his confidence. “Just in overall understanding. Due to time, of course, a year in the system. I feel really good out here and I’ll continue to compete.”
The sparse reports we’ve gotten on individual player performance, ones that should always be taken with a grain of salt since they’re all in shorts and shells, have spoken highly of Dobbs. Like this piece of info from Jeremy Fowler on May 29th.
That progress will have to be evident in camp if he is going to want to stick around.