Steelers’ Dobbs not focused on numbers heading into preseason finale
Josh Dobbs isn’t ready to concede that his start Thursday will be his final appearance with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The second-year quarterback will work with a scaled-down version of the first team when the Steelers concluded the preseason with their annual game against the Carolina Panthers.
Dobbs was the only one of the team’s four quarterbacks not to take a snap Saturday in the 16-6 win over the Tennessee Titans. The third game is considered the most important of the preseason, and the Steelers treated it like a tuneup for the regular season.
“I wouldn’t say it was frustrating,” Dobbs said. “There’s a plan upstairs. You just have to be able to control what you can control. When you get the opportunities, go out and play good football.”
He’ll get that chance – perhaps for the final time with the team – with his start against the Panthers. With four quarterbacks in camp and three spots on the 53-man roster, Dobbs is the obvious odd-man out, considering the Steelers drafted Mason Rudolph in the third round this year and let him play the entire second half against Tennessee.
Dobbs isn’t focused on the math.
“I think that’s something for you guys to play with,” he said. “I just play football. I can’t control a lot of things, but I can control how I approach every day, how I practice and how I play in games. I worry about that and let my tape do the talking for me.”
In the first two preseason games, Dobbs completed 21 of 31 passes for 283 yards – the most on the team – with three touchdowns and two interceptions. His 101.9 passer rating is the highest among the four quarterbacks, although starter Ben Roethlisberger and backup Landry Jones have taken limited reps.
“I definitely think the game has slowed down a lot for me,” Dobbs said, “and I think it shows with my play in practices and games.”
Dobbs thinks he’s done enough to warrant a spot on the 53-man roster.
“I feel like I’ve performed well,” he said. “The ultimate decision isn’t in my hands, but I know that coaches have given me a lot of great feedback.”
With coach Mike Tomlin typically resting key starters for the fourth preseason game, Dobbs likely won’t have Antonio Brown catching passes or Maurkice Pouncey and perhaps other veteran linemen blocking for him. All three veteran tight ends also might sit out the game.
“I’ll take advantage of all the reps,” Dobbs said. “I’ll be starting, so it will be fun to go out and compete and play at a high level with the guys around me.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @tribjoerutter.