Josh Dobbs figures to play a lot in Steelers preseason opener

August 17, 2018

Steelers quarterbacks Mason Rudolph, Landry Jones and Joshua Dobbs looks on during practice Aug. 7, 2018 at Saint Vincent College.

Last year at this time, Josh Dobbs was preparing to make his first NFL start.

This year, he’s fighting tooth-and-nail for a roster spot.

OK, so Dobbs’ start Aug. 11, 2017, at New York was only the preseason (as was his start nine days later at home against Atlanta). But judging by the numbers Dobbs posted in this two games: 18 for 34, 170 yards, one touchdown, three interceptions, he wasn’t fully ready to excel in the NFL - even the preseason NFL.

Now in his second year after a productive career at Tennessee, Dobbs insists he’s more prepared for the rigors of being a quarterback in the NFL.

“Second year, so I am a little different just because you know what’s coming day in and day out,” Dobbs said from Saint Vincent. “You understand what the ‘install’ is and you have gone through year under the offense, so I mentally am lot farther ahead just in going out and understating how to attack each play and how to attack each defense.

“It’s been a lot of growth the past year, so I am just excited to continue to grow in camp.”

A fourth-round pick of the Steelers last season, Dobbs stuck on the 53-man roster throughout 2017. This season, though, is different: the Steelers took Mason Rudolph in the third round in April, tacitly signaling he - and not Dobbs - is now the proverbial “quarterback of the future.”

Both Dobbs and Rudolph figure to get a significant number of drives and snaps to lead the Steelers in their preseason opener 7 p.m. Thursday at Philadelphia.

With Ben Roethlisberger still performing at an elite level, Landry Jones a proven commodity as a No. 2 QB and Rudolph safe for at very least 2018, Dobbs has little wiggle room in his quest for a roster spot (barring injury). So his preseason performance will be important - not only in proving to the Steelers he deserves to stay, but in putting good work on film to show other teams he has some ability, too.

“There’s always competition when you step on the field,” Dobbs said. “Whether it’s the quarterbacks or just competing against the defense, you want to win every drill, you want to execute at a high level. And there’s also an opportunity to continue to grow and improve and find ways to get better each and every day. That’s how I approach it.”

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