Courtesy of PNC

Carter’s Classroom: Dobbs grows as double threat ☕

Considering Dobbs was up against the Buccaneers’ first team defense that included high draft pick defenders like Vernon Hargreaves and White, his composure and execution with both his arm and his legs in just two drives were a good start to his preseason. 

Josh Dobbs (5) runs for a first down against the Buccaneers - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

Josh Dobbs came into the season as the Steelers’ No. 2 quarterback and got the start in the Steelers’ 30-28 win over the Buccaneers. He finished with five completions on eight attempts for 84 yards, as well as leading the Steelers in rushing with two carries for 44 yards.

He didn’t finish a drive with a touchdown, but he did move the ball for the Steelers and combine his athleticism with multiple good throws down the field. Let’s take a closer look at his night:

Since Dobbs’ first training camp with the Steelers in 2017, Mike Tomlin has made a point during situational scrimmage drills to force Dobbs to win with his arm on plays instead of his legs. At first it was a frustrating challenge for Dobbs, but in his third year he’s shown he’s comfortable with the playbook and his presence as a quarterback to not rely on his legs as much.

That doesn’t mean Tomlin doesn’t want to see him running to get first downs. He just wants there to be a balance, and Dobbs showed that balance against the Buccaneers.

His first run didn’t come until a third-and-eight play in the second quarter. Dobbs dropped back out of the shotgun, saw the Buccaneers’ four-man stunt blitz open a huge hole and took advantage:

What’s impressive about this play is that he wasn’t looking to run, but he felt his opportunity open and capitalized on a key down while still sliding to protect himself after moving the chains.

“I’ve always liked his prudent use of agility and escapability,” Tomlin said to me in the postgame press conference. “It’s been an asset to him in the past and it was an asset to him tonight. But the key is the prudent use of it, and he did a nice job.”

Dobbs’ best run came just a few plays later on a third-and-nine play when his primary and secondary reads were well covered. Dobbs noticed linebacker Shaquil Barrett overrun his edge blitz and get pushed behind the pocket by right tackle Zach Banner, opening up the space for Dobbs to exploit the defense which was spread out due to their man coverage. The result was a 36-yard gain, the Steelers’ third longest play of the game:

I asked Dobbs about his performance and how it felt being able to run the ball and keep the drive alive after how Tomlin had put pressure on him to win with his arm in practice. The bottom line for him is to just make plays.

“Sometimes [running] is discouraged, but at the end of the day we just have to go out and make plays,” Dobbs said. “Whether it’s with your arm or your legs, just go out there and play football. They get to hit you, you get to run from them, that’s just part of the game. Being able to make plays with both my arms and legs tonight was a blast. We were able to move the ball, so these were great stepping stones for the next time we get a chance.”

Dobbs did move the ball in the only two drives he played and both represented the worst starting field position for the Steelers’ offense in the game. The first drive he moved the ball 40 yards after being backed inside his own ten, thanks largely to a 43-yard bomb to James Washington that our Dale Lolley mentioned in his ten thoughts on the game.

But the most impressive throw on Dobbs’ night was a conversion of a third-and-21 on his second drive. He dropped back in the shotgun against a zone defense and pump faked to manipulate linebacker Devin White away from the middle of the field so he could hit Washington for a 22-yard completion:

Considering Dobbs was up against the Buccaneers’ first team defense that included high draft pick defenders like cornerback Vernon Hargreaves and White, his composure and execution in those two drives were a good start to his preseason.

Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges also had good performances, but Dobbs’ balance as a runner and a passer could be the separator that gives him an edge as the Steelers’ preseason continues.

What’s most important for Dobbs moving forward is to maximize the threat he poses to a defense with both his skills as a runner and a passer. Doing so could open up more opportunities if he compounds his successes, as opponents will have to account for both abilities.

Steelers vs. Buccaneers, Heinz Field, Aug. 9, 2019 – MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

War Room and Carter’s Classroom need your help! We are seeking sponsors for the 2019-2020 NFL season that would be willing to see their brand grow through advertising with us. All interested parties should contact me at christopher@dkpittsburghsports.com.

MORE CLASSROOM

August 9: Hard road ahead for Hodges
August 8: Reserve o-line ready to shine
August 7: Barron, Bush guide ball to Edmunds
August 6: Moncrief must gain separation

36 Comments

36
Join the discussion

12 Comment threads
24 Thread replies
1 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
17 Comment authors
Biggie_SmallsGolfballNatchezDCYinzerNone Recent comment authors
  Follow Discussion  
Newest Oldest Most voted
Notify of:
Biggie_Smalls
Biggie_Smalls

Dobbs??? LOL My gosh, he made some splash plays but the entire offense was stagnant outside of those plays.

Dobb’s accuracy is BELOW AVERAGE… The Steelers would very smart to move on from him this offseason. You don’t keep a QB because he’s a nice kid with a good head on his shoulders. Make him a coach, trade him for a pick, but if they keep him ahead of Rudolph, it shows they are making popularity decisions. YIKES

Natchez
Natchez

Chris, I don’t know what game you were watching. I just finished a recording of the game. Dobbs was the least impressive of the three. Rudolph looked the best by far. Duck appears to have potential. Dobbs made numerous mistakes. The only thing of beauty was his running.

None
None

With Dobbs running ability, any chance that they use him in a “slash” role like Stewart? Would be nice to have both Dobbs and Rudolph.

BubbaBanjo
BubbaBanjo

Chris this is awesome. I couldnt watch last nights game. These play breakdowns are great. Man I like Dobbs. Rudolph too. These guys are growing and we may have made a great decision grooming 2 young QBs if Ben gets dinged up. Options are nice to have. Like what I see in those Dobbs clips.

bilbobagins
bilbobagins

That throw really demonstrated his arm strength. The quick look off was a nice touch. Dude is supremely athletic.

BubbaBanjo
BubbaBanjo

Good stuff bilbo…. arrow up with this guy.

Mariomera8
Mariomera8

He said “Sometimes running is discouraged”

Why? Move the ball. Who cares if it’s through the air or on the ground. The more he runs the more teams would have to put about guy in the box, opening up some space to move the call downfield with his arm.

bilbobagins
bilbobagins

Run first quarterbacks who aren’t a real threat to pass:
1. aren’t effective in the NFL
2. get injured too easily.

so, discouraging him is a way of forcing him to learn to be a passing qb, which will make him a more effective qb in the long run.

3rivers7rings
3rivers7rings

Couldn’t disagree more.had a pick called back ,he threw 2 good passes .he can run big deal .rudolph is much better.he isnt accurate ,your love for him is over the top

EWJ023
EWJ023

What game did you watch? Dobbs moved the ball way better than Rudolph in the short amount of time he had. Dobbs had 2 drives that went for 108yds. Mason’s first 2 drives went 62yds. He also had two negative yard drives. Holton helped Mason tremendously.

J.P.
J.P.

Great article. I agree that Dobbs’ dual threat abilities makes him the better backup.

bilbobagins
bilbobagins

I think this has yet to play out and i for one am looking forward to seeing who develops more.

jason1937
jason1937

Dobbs had an ok night but is not going to make a living running in the NFL. Rudolph looked poised and was accurate on most of his throws. Dobbs is headed for #3QB UNLESS Hodges beats him out. The remaining preseason games will tell the tale.

J.P.
J.P.

False. He threw the ball well and pushes it downfield more than Rudolph.

Fan58
Fan58

Spot on Jason. His deep ball to JW was late and under thrown…should have been a td. His running works in the preseason when teams are not game planning and running vanilla schemes. But it gets shut down and taken away when they count. See second half of Oakland. Mason is the future.

bilbobagins
bilbobagins

Dobbs flipped his wrist and it went 45 yards in the air. He could have overthrown him by 20 yards but wanted to be sure to get the completion.

peterp14
peterp14

He had an ok night. He would have had a TD if his bomb to Washington was more accurate. Washington had to hold up after getting separation. He did enough to keep his job as #3.

J.P.
J.P.

That pass was just fine. And his throw from the goal line was the throw of the night…unless you count the one to Washington where he couldn’t toe tap.

Fan58
Fan58

Completely different take. Dobbs shows some potential but really looks no different in year 3 than he has the previous two. Rudolph looked very poised and smooth. Good foot work sliding in the pocket and patient. Perfect back shoulder throw. Clear progress from his rookie campaign. He is the #2 and hopefully Ben’s replacement in 3 years.

Bibi2009
Bibi2009

He got bailed out on an illegal hands to face on a horrible interception. Or maybe the DB was out of bounds? Was in a bar no sound. I didn’t think he looked that great to be honest. Thought Rudolph looked better.

Suwanee88
Suwanee88

I totally disagree.

I thought Hodges looked much better than Dobbs. I really don’t care if he can run unless he can play Cornerback.

They must elevate Rudolph for a few reasons. He needs as many reps as possible with the first team offense, and he is a already a better QB than Dobbs.

If you keep 3 QB’s, Hodges has much more potential.

J.P.
J.P.

Hodges has more potential?!?! Rudolph needs elevated?! Oh man, here we go again. Kordell syndrome taking over..