Steelers News

‘You’re Basically The OC Calling Your Own Plays’: Joshua Dobbs Recalls QB-Led Practice Drills In Pittsburgh

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs just wrapped the first opportunity in his entire career to get extended playing time in meaningful games, and even start them. That opportunity came six years and three teams later, granted, but everybody back in Pittsburgh certainly seems to be happy for him, and he remembers his time here well.

Recently jumping on the Bussin’ with the Boys podcast following his Titans’ elimination from postseason contention, he recalled some aspects of the Steelers’ offseason practices and how it shaped his understanding of the quarterback position at this level, centered around how the team and head coach Mike Tomlin allowed Ben Roethlisberger to operate.

“It was really impressive. We would go to practice and we would call no-huddle”, he said. “This is like for OTAs and camp. You would get the practice script, there wouldn’t be one play on it. The quarterbacks would call the entire practice”.

And when he says the quarterbacks, he means the quarterbacks. It wasn’t just Roethlisberger who got the reins. He recalled his rookie year being put in the same shoes, asked to call his own plays and run the offense in practice contexts.

“You just get to the line, you look at the situation, like it’s 1st and 10, left hash, and you just call whatever play you wanted because that’s what Ben would do in the game sometimes”, he said. “So it was cool. You’re basically the OC calling your own plays”.

None of this should be shocking, in reality, and it’s undoubtedly something that Tomlin continues to do. He places a great deal of emphasis during practices on situational football, and that includes two-minute, four-minute, and no-huddle offensive contexts.

There are certainly times during those situations when the quarterback is going to have to call his own plays, even if they do have the offensive coordinator piping into his ear. They might or they might not, but sometimes there’s no choice.

A fourth-round draft pick in 2017 out of Tennessee, Dobbs spent his rookie season with the Steelers as the number three quarterback behind Landry Jones. He appeared set to be the odd man out the following season when they drafted Mason Rudolph in the third round, but instead, he won the backup job and knocked Jones out of the league.

It wouldn’t last long, however; a year later he was demoted to third string behind Rudolph. He was then traded a week into the season in large part because the team was impressed with a rookie college free agent named Devlin “Duck” Hodges.

Were it not for the Duck, Dobbs probably starts several games that year, for reasons you already know. Roethlisberger’s throwing elbow tore and his season was over. Rudolph took over but had his ups and downs both in performance and health, which led to Hodges starting six games. Dobbs could have started them instead.

After the trade, he lasted just one year in Jacksonville and actually found himself back in Pittsburgh in 2020. He spent the 2021 season on the Reserve/Injured List. This past year saw him spend time with the Cleveland Browns and the Detroit Lions before landing in Tennessee, where in just days he was asked to start.

Over two games, he completed 40 of 68 pass attempts for 411 yards with two touchdown passes and two interceptions. He did also fumble four times. And the Titans lost both games. But he could have a chance in the NFL again in 2023.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!