Dobbs Focusing on Himself in QB Competition

Steelers backup getting strong push from Mason Rudolph

Josh Rowntree
June 05, 2019 - 1:39 pm
Steelers QB Josh Dobbs at OTA in 2019

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

Josh Dobbs is making the most of his chances. But by doing so, he could be putting Steelers’ management into a tough spot.

That may not be a bad thing. 

A year ago, Dobbs look destined to be released after the Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph in the third round. But Dobbs not only held onto a roster spot, he beat out Rudolph for the backup position, a move that sent former Steelers backup Landry Jones packing and pushed Rudolph to the third string.

Now Dobbs enters his third year. Rudolph is pressing to be the backup and has made it clear that he intends to win the job. It is up to Dobbs to fend him off. 

“You compete, you don’t compare,” Dobbs said after Wednesday’s OTA. “You just go out and play football. At the end of the day, the chips will fall where they may. Football is the ultimate competitor sport, so I love the competition.”

Dobbs, a former aerospace engineering major at Tennessee, is continually repetitive in his rhetoric regarding playing time and opportunity. He loves the reps he gets in practice. Last season, Steelers starter Ben Roethlisberger did not attend most of the OTA sessions, so Dobbs was able to get a jump start on showing what he can do. 

Roethlisberger, however, has been more present this offseason. So things are not the same this time around.

“It’s always going to be different every time you come in here, just in your growth, understanding the offense,” Dobbs said. “The reps are different this year, so to be able to come in, get those reps, those significant reps, and try to make the most of them with what I’m seeing, how I’m executing, how I’m communicating with the line of scrimmage, receivers, they’re definitely great reps.”

Dobbs got opportunities in 2018. He took snaps in five games, going 6-of-12 for 43 yards with an interception, while rushing for 11 yards. His biggest moment came in Pittsburgh’s 23-16 win at Baltimore in November. With Roethilsberger momentarily knocked out of the game, Dobbs faced with a 2nd and 20 at his own 5 yard line. He hit JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 22-yard gain. Roethlisberger came back in for the next play and led the offense to a field goal. Now Dobbs is hoping to turn plays like that into meaningful experiences.

“In-game reps, the helmet perspective, is extremely valuable,” he said. “Just whether its trusting your keys, your reads, or just getting those real games reps, it’s a little more sped up. I enjoyed them, I want to get some more and want to continue to make an impact however I can.

“As you continue to grow in any offense, whether it’s high school college or now at this level, as the years stack, you start to get more comfortable. After you get a little game experience, you start to settle in and the game slows down for you.”

Like his teammates, Dobbs implied that this team is perhaps more well connected than it was in his first two years. 

“We’ve seen it in the attendance at OTAs,” Dobbs said. “Guys are showing up, wanting to get better, excited to be here, taking the field with an emphasis on what we can do as a team to grow.”

Dobbs is smart. He knows he has to individually produce more, too. The Steelers had a first-round grade on Rudolph when he was drafted and it would appear that, based on that, Rudolph could be in line to take the backup job. 

“I think you’re competing against everyone, you’re competing against everyone in the room and, of course, you’re competing against the defense on a daily basis,” Dobbs said. “The real thing is finding things to grow. How can I grow on a daily basis, whether it’s something mentally, physically or in the weight room, and use that as stepping stones to hit the ground running once we get to camp?”

Hear more of what Josh Dobbs had to say below.