Now that the 2020 regular season has begun, following a second consecutive season in which they failed to even reach the playoffs, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we are seeing over the course of the season as it plays out. Who is making plays? Who is missing them? Who is losing snaps? Who is struggling to stay on the field?
A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasonings. In some cases it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances it will be a direct response to something that just happened. So we can see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: QB Joshua Dobbs
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The Steelers opted to use third-string quarterback Joshua Dobbs in a situational sub-package in yesterday’s game, and after the game, head coach Mike Tomlin said it’s a possibility it may be used during the postseason as well.
Well this is not an article that I really anticipated writing. Joshua Dobbs, who was waived by the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this year, returned to the team after being traded in the other direction last year, and spent the 2020 season riding the bench, inactive for every game up to yesterday.
While Mason Rudolph, starting the game, showed that he is justified in being the team’s direct backup starter, putting in an overall solid performance with two touchdowns and over 300 passing yards with several big plays, Dobbs showed that he is perhaps the more likely to play in the postseason.
That is because his athleticism and speed allows him to be effective in sub-package ball, a skill that any other Steelers quarterback lacks. He got more than half a dozen snaps in the game as a read-option quarterback, keeping two for himself for 20 yards.
While he technically ‘threw’ five passes, they were pitches rather than traditional dropbacks, and as of now there is no indication that the Steelers would put him in a situation in which they might ask him to throw the ball. At the same time, you don’t want to telegraph that a play will be a run whenever Dobbs is in the backfield.
The question is, will the Steelers really take Ben Roethlisberger off the field or move him out wide for plays in the postseason? Given that they have really struggled in short-yardage possession downs, perhaps it’s not as far-fetched as it seemed 24 hours ago. However, they would have to dress all three quarterbacks to do this if they still view Rudolph as their backup quarterback, which they evidently do.