A lot of attention is being paid to Mason Rudolph, who has been pegged as a potential candidate to be the successor at the quarterback position. The Pittsburgh Steelers made the decision to use a third-round pick on him last season because they viewed him as a player with first-round talent, despite the lack of immediate need.
Rudolph spent his rookie season as the third-string quarterback, however, never dressing for a game during the regular season, and that was thanks to Joshua Dobbs, the quarterback that the team drafted in the fourth round a year before in 2017.
Dobbs not only stayed ahead of the rookie Rudolph, he beat out veteran backup Landry Jones, who was entering his sixth season and had won games in the past. The Tennessee product was given low odds to even make the roster in 2018, but he did through his play in the preseason and won the backup job as well.
“It was great to get out there, and I am definitely fiending for some more”, he told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about the experience of being the backup and dressing and getting practice reps every week.
In other words, he has no intentions of relinquishing his backup role to Rudolph just because he was drafted higher and had a higher grade by the Steelers in pre-draft evaluations. Dobbs was in for, and read for, a fight in the summer last year and is gearing up for another in 2019, but this time to retain his spot.
While quarterback Ben Roethlisberger never missed a game in 2018, Dobbs did have to come in twice due to injuries, though one of those appearances consisted of just one snap—a 23-yard completion on second and 22 from deep in Steelers territory. The other appearance did not go nearly as well, however, and helped contribute to a loss to the Oakland Raiders.
“You can’t over-analyze it, but obviously I will watch it and grow from it”, he said of reviewing some of the rough tape. “But it’s not something where I will be watching every single play 5,000 times. I know what happened in my head. But it was definitely something to learn from. Just continuing to grow, pre-snap stuff, mentally, get in that game rhythm”.
Dobbs is ahead of where Jones was at this point in their respective careers, but that isn’t saying much. It wasn’t until midway through his third season that Jones was given the opportunity—or rather thrust into it—and he improved in 2016 and 2017.
If the third-year quarterback really wants to be a long-term answer, he will have to take significant strides this offseason, perhaps a bigger leap than he had even from year one to year two.