When Josh Dobbs was selected with the 135th overall pick in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers, many Vol fans were hoping Dobbs would show out and snag the backup quarterback role immediately. But if one Steelers beat writer is correct, Dobbs isn’t even giving backup quarterback Landry Jones any competition right now.
There’s no question that Ben Roethlisberger will be Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback when the 2017 season starts. But Roethlisberger’s last two seasons with the Steelers have seen him get banged up more and more, as he’s missed seven starts the last two seasons. And now that Roethlisberger has turned 35, the Steelers need a viable backup in case he goes down again for an extended period of time in the near future.
Many Vol fans and Steelers fans alike believed Dobbs was brought in to be the eventual successor to Roethlisberger. But the rookie quarterback out of Tennessee won’t just be handed the backup role; fifth-year pro Landry Jones already has that, and one Pittsburgh beat writer doesn’t think Dobbs is even close to taking it from him.
Bob Labriola has covered the Steelers for years, and he has a weekly question and answer series about the Steelers that is posted on Pittsburgh’s official website. This most recent installment saw one fan ask Labriola about the battle for the No. 2 quarterback position between Jones and Dobbs.
“Now that quarterback Josh Dobbs has been drafted on the fourth round,” the reader stated, “the Steelers current backup quarterback Landry Jones has some competition. I hope that Josh will win the job because what I’ve seen from Landry so far has been extremely inconsistent. What is your take on the backup quarterbacks and the battle for the No. 2 spot?”
Labriola’s answer was succinct and not what fans of Dobbs wanted to hear.
“There is no battle,” Labriola replied. “Landry Jones will be the backup quarterback, and Josh Dobbs will be No. 3. Maybe that’s not what you want to hear, but it’s the truth.”
Jones failed to record any stats for his first two seasons in the NFL, but he filled in for Roethlisberger when he was hurt the last two years. In those games, Jones completed 85 of his 141 pass attempts for 1,071 yards, seven touchdowns, and six interceptions. Jones is 2-2 in four starts with the Steelers.
Dobbs has his work cut out for him despite Jones’ lackluster performances in his few spot starts. Jones understands the Steelers’ playbook better and knows his teammates better than Dobbs does right now. It may take a while for Dobbs to unseat Jones as the No. 2 in Pittsburgh, but Vol fans know not to count Dobbs out even if the odds are stacked against him.