Steelers Tape Study: Josh Dobbs – 2016 Tennessee Completion Breakdowns

A few quick notes about my methodology:

  • This study charts 421 pass attempts from 14 games (8 Home, 6 Away). Although I wanted to catalogue all of Joshua Dobbs’ throws, these 14 games were the only ones that were available on I still believe that the data is representative of his overall game, even if his “true” completion percentages are slightly different.
  • Dropped passes were counted as completions in this study. The job of the quarterback is to get the ball accurately to his receivers, and he fulfills this duty even on plays were the receiver drops the ball.
  • When charting Dobb’s footwork, I recorded the drop back type that he actually performed, rather than the traditional drop associated with a particular route. For example, Quarterbacks typically take a 1-step drop from shotgun when throwing slant routes; however, Dobbs sometimes took 3-steps instead. I recorded what Dobbs did on each play, NOT the typical drop back.
  • When recording Dobb’s bad throws, I only counted throws that were complete misses, such as one-hopping a wide open hitch route or throwing far behind an open receiver on digs/slants. For Deep Vertical routes, I only counted passes where Dobb’s never gave his receiver a chance to make a catch by accidently throwing the ball far out of bounds. I also included blatantly poor decisions that ended as interceptions in the “bad throw” category. None of these passes were ticky-tacky judgments and instead they were all very clear bad throws directly attributable to QB accuracy. If it was close, I gave Dobbs the benefit of the doubt.
  • When calculating Dobb’s completion percentage by Target Area, I did not include “Throw-Away” passes, which is why the total throws in that chart do not add up to 421 attempts.
  • Lastly, I did not categorize the routes by depth (for example, I only charted Out-Routes generally, rather than Deep Outs vs. Speed Outs). I used my “Target Area” analysis to capture the differences in route depth.
  • My full data log also includes the down/distance for each pass, whether Dobbs was under pressure on the throw, and the yards gained on the play. If you’re curious about this info or would like to take a look at the data for yourself, I’d be happy to send it to you via Twitter. Hopefully this report helps highlight the areas of Dobbs passing game in which he excels, as well as the areas where he can improve.

Completion Percentage by Route Type

  • Completions/Attempts per Route: Crosser (11/11), Bubble (30/31), RB Screen (17/19), Wheel (6/7), Hitch (67/79), Flat (44/52), Curl (20/26), Seam (9/12), Post (12/17), Out (19/28), Comeback (7/13), Corner (7/13), Slant (18/36), Dig (11/22), Deep Vertical (10/36), Back Shoulder Fade (1/4), Fade (1/6)

Completion Percentage by Drop Back Type

  • Completions/Attempts per Drop Back Type: Screens (50/56), Play Action – 1 Step Drop (15/19), Roll Right (22/30), Roll Left (11/15), 3-Step Drop (99/146), 1-Step Drop (38/56), 5-Step Drop (12/18), Fake Screen (6/10), Play Action – 3 Step Drop (23/39), Scrambles (No Throw-Aways) (11/19), Play Action – 7 Step Drop (Under Center) (1/2)

Completion Percentage by Down

  • Completions/Attempts per Down: 1st Down (249/369), 2nd Down (211/329), 3rd Down (145/287), 4th Down (12/14)

Completion Percentage by Target Area

Number of Bad Throws by Target Area

Number of Bad Throws by Route

  • Total Attempts Per Route: Deep Verticals (36), Hitch (79), Dig (22), Slant (30), Flat (52), Curl (26), Seam (12), Post (17), Comebacks (13), Corner (13), Back Shoulder Fade (4), Fade (6), Throw-Aways (15)

About the Author

Sean McKaveney
Sean McKaveney is currently a student at the UCLA School of Law and was formerly the starting Quarterback and Team Captain for Claremont McKenna College, a Top 10 Liberal Arts school in Los Angeles. Although he grew up in Southern California, Sean was raised as a diehard Steelers fan by his father, a Pittsburgh native. The Steelers are undefeated in games that Sean has attended.
  • Norton

    I seem to remember reading that Roethlisberger makes his money on the intermediate routes – 10 to 20 yards.

    Going into 2016 PFF had Ben at #3 in the league, behind Rodgers and Brady, and ahead of Newton and Wilson but it in part because he averaged over 50% on deep balls in 2015. That article was published in June, so that’s perhaps why I couldn’t find one for the upcoming season yet.

    Dobbs looks like a right handed QB. He’s best going middle or to the right.

    I’ll admit his accuracy does temper my enthusiasm a little, but he does show poise and leadership. Here’s hoping any accuracy is footwork related and correctable.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    What is this the 20th article on Dobbs? Need a new topic

  • Nathanael Dory

    I dont get this obsession on Dobbs but thats serious stuff really!

  • falconsaftey43

    Nice stuff Dave. Odd he struggles so much on slants/diggs, those should usually be pretty easy throws.

  • Matt Correll

    That was honestly what stood out the most to me as well. Those are odd throws to struggle with.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    This is really interesting stuff and thank you for putting it together! I can reach great conclusions regarding what he does best and where he struggles.

    I would love to also be able to compare this in-depth stuff for him to similar stuff for others. However, I must admit that I don’t know where an average qb falls with some of these stats so I cannot reach any conclusions on how he might compare to others. For example: are most qb’s at 25% completion rate on deep throws or are most at like 35%+? Or: What % of throws are bad throws for an average qb?