I wrote on Sunday before the Pittsburgh Steelers’ regular season opener against the Cleveland Browns that the best possible backup quarterback a team could have is the one that never has to play. The goal of every team is to never have to put another quarterback on the field other than your starter.
But your backup quarterback doesn’t just stand on the sidelines and look good. Which is why Ben Roethlisberger came to value Landry Jones so much. Now he is beginning to get the opportunity to see what second-year quarterback Joshua Dobbs can bring to the table as his second set of eyes and ears. According to Jacob Klinger, an awful lot of people were getting a mouthful from him.
The Penn Live reporter spoke with Dobbs on Monday, who spoke with him about his first experience serving as Roethlisberger’s direct backup. It was the second game in his career for which he was ever active—actually the second in a row—but the first was backing up Jones in a meaningless regular season finale.
“Just whoever had questions or whoever needed to give a thought”, he said, he “put a thought in their ear”. Klinger wrote that the young quarterback told him of his communicative nature on the sidelines, trying to pick things up in the game that he was able to relay to those who were participating.
Dobbs talked the reporter through the process of observing the Cleveland Browns’ defense to watch for tendencies, and how he was able to use those observations to talk over with Roethlisberger the plays that he might want to run against certain looks while they ran out of the no-huddle.
He also talked to the receivers, watching their routes and how they ran with what Roethlisberger was expecting, trying to align the two and get them on the same page. He shared his observations about what he saw in the red zone.
In other words, he was doing what the backup quarterback is supposed to do. At least as far as we know. Only his teammates can attest to how credible his observations are. But I’m sure that his insights will only grow stronger the more opportunities that he gets to watch from the sidelines.
Dobbs’ newest teammate, wide receiver Ryan Switzer, told Klinger that “he’s listening to what the play is, he’s listening to what’s being said and then he’s also looking at the defense and checks that they’re making. So he was a good resource yesterday in terms of that”.
Switzer played seven snaps on offense, which means that he spent a lot of time on the sidelines, and likely spent a lot of that time around Dobbs, who always had the iPad going over plays. “He helped a lot” in that regard”, the wide receiver said.