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Josh Dobbs Could be Making 1st NFL Start on Sunday

(Photo via Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

This time two weeks ago, former Vol Josh Dobbs’ spot on the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster was in question. Now, he could be making his first career start for the Steelers in Week 2.

Starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed a second consecutive practice on Thursday because of an elbow injury he sustained during the Steelers’ season-opening tie with the Cleveland Browns. Because of that, Dobbs took snaps with Pittsburgh’s first team offense, and he says he’s ready to go should he be called upon on Sunday when the Steelers take on the Kansas City Chiefs.

“I was born ready,” Dobbs told 247Sports’ Jim Wexell after Thursday’s practice. “I’ve known the whole playbook since I got here, so there’s no need to condense it. It’s still playing football. React to the calls and looks that you’re getting and have fun, execute, play a little, protect the football. We’ll be in good shape if we do that. But that’ll be the plan.

“You’ve got to stay ready always so you don’t have to get ready.”

Heading into Pittsburgh’s last preseason game at the end of August, rumors were circulating that Dobbs would be the odd man out of the Steelers’ quarterback room. Pittsburgh drafted Mason Rudolph in the 2018 NFL Draft and had veteran backup QB Landry Jones on the roster as well. Dobbs, who was taken in the fourth round of the 2017 draft by the Steelers, looked like he wouldn’t make the cut when the Steelers made their final round of deductions for the 53-man roster.

Then Dobbs put on a show in Pittsburgh’s final preseason game, completing 8 of his 12 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown while also running the ball effectively. That performance capped off a solid 2018 preseason that saw Dobbs complete 67.4 percent of his 43 pass attempts for 434 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions while running the ball for 63 yards and a score on 10 carries.

And all that was enough to secure him a spot on the roster.

Pittsburgh elected to cut Landry Jones at their quarterback spot, leaving them with the second-year Dobbs and rookie Mason Rudolph as backups to Ben Roethlisberger.

If Dobbs does start for the Steelers on Sunday, not only would it mark his first start in the NFL, but it would also be Dobbs’ first regular season game period in the NFL.

Roethlisberger has struggled with injuries and missing time over the last few years, so Pittsburgh has been very selective with who they keep as a backup. Roethlisberger has missed seven games over the last three NFL seasons and has only played a full 16-game regular season three times in his 14-year career before this season.

The Steelers’ veteran quarterback hasn’t been ruled out for Sunday’s contest just yet, but Dobbs is ready to take the reigns should his number be called. After all, he did the same thing in 2013 and 2014 for Tennessee when UT’s starter went down with injury. And in 2014, Dobbs took the starting job and ran with it and didn’t miss another game for the rest of his Vol career.

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