Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs confirmed on Monday that he’ll start the team’s 2018 preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers.
Dobbs, who has completed 21 of his 31 total pass attempts so far this preseason for 283 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, didn’t play this past Saturday in the Steelers home game against the Tennessee Titans. Instead, rookie quarterback Mason Rudolph started and played the entire second half.
While Thursday night it could potentially be the last game that Dobbs plays in a Steelers uniform, the 2017 fourth-round draft pick out of Tennessee said Monday he isn’t focused right now on the aspect of him being the presumed odd man out at quarterback come Saturday when the Steelers will need to trim their roster down to 53 players.
“I think that’s something for you guys to play with,” Dobbs said, according to Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I just play football. I can’t control a lot of things, but I can control how I approach every day, how I practice and how I play in games. I worry about that and let my tape do the talking for me.”
Even though the odds really appear to be stacked against him right now, Dobbs thinks he’s done enough to warrant a spot on the Steelers 53-man roster entering the team’s final preseason game of 2018.
“I feel like I’ve performed well,” he said. “I know the ultimate decision isn’t in my hands, but I know that coaches have given me a lot of great feedback.”
In last year’s preseason finale against the Panthers, Landry Jones started at quarterback and played the first two offensive series before Dobbs took over and played the rest of the way. He finished the game having completed 16 of his 23 pass attempts for 212 yards with a 58-yard touchdown pass in the first half to wide receiver Justin Hunter. He also rushed five times for 9 yards in that Steelers 17-14 road win and that included him scoring the go-ahead touchdown from one-yard out with two seconds remaining in the game.
Despite him not having the best accuracy this preseason, Dobbs does appear to be much more comfortable this year than he was during his rookie season and he said as much on Monday.
“I definitely think the game has slowed down a lot for me,” Dobbs said, “and I think it shows with my play in practices and games.”
It’s unknown as of right now how long Dobbs will play Thursday night against the Panthers as one would think the Steelers would like to also get Rudolph some time under center as well. Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin might shed some light on that topic when he talks to the media in Tuesday.
In total, we can expect roughly half of the 32 NFL teams to keep three quarterbacks on their initial 53-man rosters this year. In short, Dobbs will need a solid performance Thursday night against the Panthers and then hope another team claims him off waivers should the Steelers decide to part ways with him on Saturday.
At worst, perhaps Dobbs will get signed to a practice squad if he fails to make the Steelers roster and ultimately goes unclaimed on waivers. For all we know, perhaps the Steelers might decide to sign him to their own practice squad.
Dobbs is a very easy player to root for and it will certainly be nice to see him have his best game to date Thursday night against the Panthers.