Josh Dobbs confirmed he took first-team quarterback reps at Pittsburgh Steelers practice for the second consecutive day on Thursday as Ben Roethlisberger continues to sit out because of an elbow injury.
Roethlisberger was injured on the second-to-last offensive play late in overtime of Sunday’s 21-21 tie at Cleveland when the Browns’ Genard Avery strip-sacked him. Roethlisberger said Wednesday morning it was “just … a bruise. It will be fine,” and did not rule out practicing Wednesday.
Veterans in general — and Roethlisberger in particular — often sit out Wednesday practice. But missing a Thursday session could be an indication of a more legitimate injury.
Dobbs said he is ready in case he is thrust into a starting role. Dobbs never has taken a regular-season snap in the NFL and became the No. 2 quarterback after Landry Jones was released in final roster cutdowns.
“I know that if my opportunity comes and my number is called to be ready to go in and play and play to win and compete at the highest level,” Dobbs said after practice. “If I’m on the sideline again, I’ll be helping Ben seeing as much as I can see and help him as much as I can.
“It’s a two-way street, so you have to be ready for both situations.”
The Steelers have one more practice before they play their home opener Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Asked if Roethlisberger would take part in the final practice of the week Friday, offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said “I don’t have (any expectation).”
Asked if he expected Roethlisberger to play Sunday, Fichtner said, “I wouldn’t be able to answer that.”
Fichtner said he would not change the gameplan drastically if Dobbs was his starter instead of 15-year veteran Roethlisberger.
“Not necessarily,” Fichtner said. “You’re always going to tailor it to things he does best, no doubt. But we’re not going to do anything different than if it was Ben.
“You’re going to try to tailor it to people you have, and you’re going to put the people you have in the best positions to make a play.”
Dobbs had a 112.0 passer rating over three preseason games, throwing four touchdown passes to two interceptions.
After playing a full 16-game schedule just once over his first nine seasons, Roethlisberger has stayed relatively healthy since 2013, missing just five starts because of injury over the past five-plus seasons. Jones and Mike Vick started those games in his place.
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris at email@example.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.