If there is one thing to take away from today’s game versus the Cleveland Browns, it is the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers decided not only to install but to utilize a sub-package for third-string quarterback Joshua Dobbs, a fourth-year man who has speed and athleticism for the position.
With Ben Roethlisberger sitting out the game in preparation for the postseason, it was perfect timing to try something else out. Head coach Mike Tomlin did say that they would by no means be laying down for this game, and he clearly decided that supplementing Mason Rudolph with a Dobbs sub-package was a part of maximizing their chances of winning.
The package did find some success, though it didn’t necessarily begin well. He checked in on the second play of the second drive and gave the ball to Ray-Ray McCloud, who was tackled for a loss. However, later in the first half, he handed off to Anthony McFarland for a third-down conversion.
As you would guess, Dobbs’ legs got involved as well, and he finished the half with two carries of his own, the first a 13-yard keeper on first and 10. Toward the end of the half, he checked in for third and long to rush for a seven-yard gain that pushed them into manageable field position.
That was especially important in a game in which Chris Boswell, their kicker, was sidelined, giving Matthew Wright a safer range at 46 yards out. He had attempted just one field goal in his career prior to the start of the day. He connected, to make it a four-point, 10-6 deficit heading into halftime.
“We thought his mobility could be an X factor”, head coach Mike Tomlin said after the game. “It’s a little-known fact Dobbs ran for 850 his last year at Tennessee. Running is an asset to him, so we just wanted to infuse that into the game, particularly in some situational components of play, maybe third down, maybe red zone”.
I’m appreciative of his efforts as well”, Tomlin added, “and he had an opportunity to put his hand in the pile and be a positive contributor to our efforts”. When asked if he could potentially use Dobbs during the postseason as a situational player, he conceded, “it’s a possibility”.
Of course, he would have every reason to want the Browns to think it’s a possibility when Roethlisberger is back in the game, whether or not it actually is. So, basically it’s a possibility that it’s a possibility, but we can’t be certain.
In all, Dobbs was credited with two rushes for 20 yards, and five ‘pass attempts’ with four completions—for two yards. Two went to McCloud, who totaled minus-three yards for his efforts. If they do intend to use this package, which Roethlisberger probably wouldn’t be thrilled about, it can use some work.