Joshua Dobbs has certainly been through the ringer a time or two. As a second-year player in 2018, while trying to hold on to the number three position, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph and essentially dubbed him their next potential franchise quarterback.
That thrust him into the fight of his professional life, wherein he had to beat out Landry Jones to be the backup that year, with Rudolph, still learning, as the number three. He came out of that competition, but the Steelers would trade him a year later when the Jacksonville Jaguars offered them a fifth-round pick for him following Nick Foles’ injury, and the team intrigued by rookie Devlin Hodges.
“I think any player would be upset to be traded, especially from the organization that drafted you”, Dobbs told reporters on the weekend when asked about that trade before he was brought back last year. “It was obviously tough. It was a whirlwind of an experience. And then, obviously, to see the QB carousel that went on after I was sent to Florida, it was a tough year”.
“I think when you go through [things like] that, they help your mindset, help your mental toughness, and help you be ready when your opportunity comes”, he added. “Whenever it comes, I’ll definitely be ready, without a doubt”.
The Steelers, who did not re-sign Dobbs this offseason until mid-April, have continued to put the pressure on Dobbs, having signed former first-round pick Dwayne Haskins. The newcomer and Rudolph have been splitting the majority of the reps, both in training camp and in the preseason opener, leaving Dobbs with whatever’s left.
He admitted that it hasn’t been easy, saying, “it’s frustrating, honestly, not getting those reps to the end of the day,”, as we covered yesterday. “That’s what you do it for. You do it for the opportunity to go out on the field and compete. And you’re not always given the opportunities to fully show your capabilities. You’re not really put in an ideal situation”.
Despite the limited opportunities, however, he has still largely performed well, moving the ball during the preseason opener (without scrambling) and picking up in the practice that has followed. He has no interest in conceding to the prevailing belief that he will, once again, be the odd man out. Even if he already experienced that to a degree when Pittsburgh traded him in 2019. That year, then-rookie Gardner Minshew emerged as an exciting young short-term starter, with Dobbs riding the bench all year.
Jacksonville let him go after training camp last year, and the Steelers did not hesitate to bring him back. He’s still here, but understandably frustrated—not that he has competition, but that he doesn’t have as many opportunities to compete as he would like to have.