The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: The Steelers should consider looking into deploying Joshua Dobbs as a gadget player like Taysom Hill.
Explanation: The NFL is a league of trends, and when teams see one idea work, many of them try to adopt it. The New Orleans Saints had some success using Taysom Hill as a gadget weapon who could throw, and other teams have tried to find a Hill of their own this offseason.
I think this possibility could either be helped or hindered by the emergence of Mason Rudolph. If Rudolph wins the backup job, Dobbs might not even dress to be able to have any type of role. Or he could really show potential in that role and dress over one of the wide receivers, or somewhere else on the roster. Or just when they have a spare roster spot.
While Dobbs seems to be the ‘committed to playing quarterback’ type, those stories tend to change. Lamar Jackson ran routes and things of that nature for the Baltimore Ravens before he took over the starting job. Now they drafted Trace McSorley to possibly be a gadget player, and have mentioned Robert Griffin III as an option as well.
The Steelers have had success running gadgets in the past and I think that Randy Fichtner is capable of being creative with the idea. And they may need some help manufacturing things from time to time this year with Antonio Brown gone. Dobbs has great speed to carry the ball as well.
But one thing Dobbs is decidedly not is Slash. He’s not what they had in Kordell Stewart. He’s not built like a player who is going to carry the ball a lot. When he runs, it’s with an open lane, and he’s going to slide rather than fight through contact. Oh, and there is no indication of his receiving ability.
And as alluded to above, if Rudolph is able to take over the backup job this year, then Dobbs would have to dress over a player who could potentially be more useful, on either side of the ball. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to experiment with it a bit in practice at some point if Rudolph is the backup, but it would probably take a domino effect to see it used in a game. And if he’s the backup, you don’t want both of your quarterbacks on the field together to subject them to injury simultaneously.