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Josh Dobbs goes from No. 4 to No. 2 in Steelers QB pecking order

September 30, 2018
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Steelers quarterbacks Mason Rudolph and Joshua Dobbs during practice Monday, Sept. 3, 2018 at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Josh Dobbs insists he felt good about his chances to make the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 53-man roster. But his recollection of the moment he found out Saturday tells a different story.

″(Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner) called me, like 3:42 (p.m.),” Dobbs said. ”(But) who was counting (the precise) minute?”

The good news for Dobbs didn’t stop at making the team -- a shocker to most who follow the Steelers. Fichtner told Dobbs, “Your role will change a little bit moving forward.”

Dobbs not only won a roster spot at the expense of veteran Landry Jones, he inherited Jones’ old role. Dobbs confirmed he will serve as the top backup to Ben Roethlisberger, with rookie Mason Rudolph slotting in as the No. 3 quarterback when the season begins Sunday at the Cleveland Browns.

“Always ready to go, but you are also helping Ben however he needs,” the second-year Dobbs said. “Be a resource for him, and any way I can help him improve and find that extra nugget to get us a win on Sundays, I am going to do it.”

Rudolph confirmed Dobbs got the majority of the second-team reps in practice Monday, the first since the Steelers trimmed their roster to the regular season-mandated 53.

It wasn’t as big of a bombshell as beating out the six-year veteran Jones for a spot on the roster, but Dobbs earning the No. 2 job over Rudolph raised some eyebrows because Rudolph has been viewed as a long-term option.

It shows how much Dobbs impressed in his second NFL training camp and preseason. Noticeably better on the field at Saint Vincent and in the threepreseason games he appeared, the 2017 fourth-round pick’s ascension to No. 2 was done the old-fashioned way: It was earned.

“I thought I played well when my opportunities came,” said Dobbs, who had a 112.0 passer rating in 43 attempts. “I didn’t know how everything was going to shake out, but I feel like I prepared well and played well when I was given my opportunity, whether it was during practice or in games. And obviously it showed.”

Dobbs’ gain was Jones’ loss. And it leaves a void in the locker room (only seven players have been with the Steelers longer than Jones). Jones was upbeat, and his friendly disposition kept things light.

“I’m happy and sad,” said guard Ramon Foster, the Steelers’ second-longest tenured player. “I know Landry will be fine. I absolutely know that. He’s a guy that he got calls from other teams last year to try to pick him up, so I’m not worried about him having a job.

“But his presence not being here is one thing. We will miss him in a lot of different ways. He’s a spiritual leader on our team. He’s a guy who keeps that aspect tight, so we’re going to pick that up slack in that mode.

“He’s more than a football player. He’s a great guy. ... Dobbs is my guy, too. I can’t bash one. I love them both. I was hoping we could keep four.”

That was not feasible because of roster-size restrictions and because giving four quarterbacks practice reps in-season is logistically troublesome. Rudolph acknowledged as much when he noted his work Monday (mostly with the scout team) paled in comparison to what he typically did in practice at Oklahoma State.

“We had a lot of great meetings and started to peel back the layers on who Cleveland is,” Rudolph said.

“I didn’t get a whole lot of work today, but I used the special teams periods to work with our quarterbacks coach to get extra throws.”

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