Former Tennessee starting quarterback and current Pittsburgh Steelers backup Josh Dobbs will be the starting quarterback in Pittsburgh’s first preseason game on Friday night.
With starter Ben Roethlisberger not playing in the preseason opener, Dobbs will be the first quarterback to take snaps against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers according to head coach Mike Tomlin.
“We’ll continue to harden up some of our rotations in terms of who’s playing with and in what groups,” Tomlin said on Wednesday. “We’re working some two-minute football, getting the quarterbacks that could potentially be in the game, ready.”
Dobbs backed up Roethlisberger last season after beating out Landry Jones for the No. 2 spot on the quarterback depth chart during training camp. On the season, Dobbs was 6-of-15 for 43 yards. He threw an interception in a 24-21 loss to the Oakland Raiders. He appeared in five games.
The former Tennessee standout is entering his third season with the Steelers after being drafted by the team in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Dobbs threw for 434 yards on 29-of-43 passing, four touchdowns, and two interceptions last preseason as he won the backup role. He also rushed for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Dobbs isn’t guaranteed to keep that spot in 2019, though.
Mason Rudolph, who Dobbs is battling against to be Roethlisberger’s backup, was drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Oklahoma State. The two have been dueling it out in practice so far, and the preseason will be the ultimate proving ground prior to the start of the season.
Dobbs finished his Tennessee career with a record of 23-12. In four seasons, he set program records for career rushing yards by a quarterback (2,160), career rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (32), single-season rushing yards by a quarterback (831 in 2016) and single-season rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (12 in 2016).
Through the air, Dobbs threw for 7,138 yards, 53 touchdowns, and completed 61.5 percent of his passes. Dobbs finished with 87 career touchdowns in his UT career (53 passing, 32 rushing, 2 receiving).
Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are scheduled to kick-off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday night.