Steelers Tape Study: Joshua Dobbs’ 2016 3rd Down Incompletions – Part 2

In a previous post, I wrote about how poorly new Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs performed on third down pass attempts during his college career at Tennessee and in it I indicated that I planned on digging deeper into his 2016 tape in order to see what really happened. I have now started a study related to that topic that includes me breaking down all off Dobbs’ 2016 incompleted third down throws from his 2016 season.

In my first post for this series I looked at the third down incompletions Dobbs had in his first two games of the 2016 season. In today’s post, I will show you Dobbs’ third down incompletions in Tennessee’s next three games against Ohio, Florida and Georgia.

In the three videos below you’ll see all of Dobbs’ third down incompletions from those three games and underneath them are the charted play-by-play accounts complete with air yards from the line of scrimmage, snap to throw times as well as a brief description of what happened.

As usual, I invite all of you to comment on my assessments of each play in addition to any other analysis you believe is necessary. This series should take roughly a week to finish and at that point I will post a recap of the data. Thank you for following along.

Steelers Tape Study: Joshua Dobbs’ 2016 3rd Down Incompletions – Part 1

2nd4:553rd7TENN 31J.Dobbs pass incomplete to J.Malone162.75Throw off target maybe miscommunication
1st11:163rd5FLA 40J.Dobbs pass incomplete to E.Wolf53.01Designed roll-out pass dropped
1st4:323rd11TENN 40J.Dobbs pass incomplete to J.Malone85.79Pass caught but out of bounds after scramble
1st2:443rd7FLA 43J.Dobbs pass incomplete to T.Byrd12.89Receiver turned upfield after crossing over middle
2nd10:303rd5FLA 38J.Dobbs pass incomplete to J.Smith02.62Dropped pass thrown slightly behind receiver
2nd8:573rdGFLA 7J.Dobbs pass intercepted by Q.Wilson152.95Forced red zone pass in end zone picked off
2nd2:443rd6FLA 10J.Dobbs pass incomplete to A.Kamara11.89Dropped flair-out pass thrown low and behind
3rd4:203rd8TENN 34J.Dobbs pass incomplete to A.Kamara152.53Sideline pass thrown out of bounds
1st11:033rd9TENN 47J.Dobbs pass incomplete to J.Smith133.31Throw behind receiver after hit while throwing
1st7:123rd8UGA 34J.Dobbs pass incomplete to J.Hurd-42.25Short screen pass thrown too high
3rd3:043rd9TENN 28J.Dobbs pass incomplete to J.Malone343Catchable deep pass through receiver’s hands

  • D.j. Reynolds

    He did not appear to have a good O-Line – but then again, this is 3rd & long, so it is the down that defenders get to pin their ears back. Idk if this is a habit or just a trend for his incomplete passes, but he shows a horrible tendency to throw off-balance, without his feet set in these and yesterday’s clips – I imagine that has a LOT to do with his many off-the-mark throws here.

  • falconsaftey43

    1. agreed

    1. agreed
    2. agreed, don’t think WR could have caught it inbounds, but safe throw, no one open
    3. agreed, looks like WR fault, although likely tackled short of sticks
    4. this one’s on Dobbs, threw behind, allowed defender to rip ball out. throw in front allows WR to run for 1st.
    5. agreed
    6. agreed
    7. agreed, just missed on the throw

    1. agreed
    2. agreed
    3. agreed, dropped ball

  • falconsaftey43

    yes, I think most his misses are due to his feet not being set. Seems to happen when there is pressure, or when he takes awhile to make the throw, doesn’t seem to reset feet as he goes through progressions or as WRs move across the field. He’ll def need to work on that, but should be correctable.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    On this and other sites/draft profiles, I’ve seen some people say he has a strong arm and others say it is weak-ish while even others say it is just adequate. Has anyone studied enough film or watched enough of his college film to have a well-informed opinion about this yet?

    It is kind of hard to gauge just looking at the limited film I’ve seen thus far. I’ve seen the hail mary’s and a couple deep passes, which would make me think he has a strong arm but I’ve also seen some long attempts that came up way too short.

  • george

    I’ve heard the same. During the post draft conference Randy implied his arm wasn’t as strong as Ben’s but “he has a good arm and is capable of making all the throws we require in our system.” So hopefully, t’s ,ecahnics and can be easily fixed.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    ive been arguing with people for last half hour that dobbs is not going to unseat jones. period. their landry hate is unfounded and ridiculous. the only thing dobbs has done and will do will be qb3 this year.

  • george

    I don’t think the plan was for him to unseat Landry. I’m pretty sure their thinking was that they have Landry for 2 more years. After that they will know exactly what they have in Dobb’s-a franchise QB or a career back up to replace Landry.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    they have landry for this year through 2019. which if ben plays more than this year landry would be his backup most likely till he retires in 2018 or 2019. with another qb drafted probably next year or the year after.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I hope this is right, but I’m not sure I believe Randy F. or anyone from the team (though I suspect he can make all necessary throws or he wouldn’t have been drafted). As I recall, they made similar statements about Landry Jones, so I’m a little leery.

    Though I love college football, I admit that I didn’t really watch any significant time of a TN game while Dobbs was there, and I’ve seen such differing opinions on him in draft profiles, he’s the pick I feel like I know the least about.

  • SteelersDepot

    Velocity, IMHO, is hard to pick up on not in person. Distance can be seen.


    (On how big of a deal is arm strength as in the NFL)
    “I think it’s a must. We all talk about it. I’ve coached guys at different levels and it’s been unique to see because you see guys that can understand the game and make very quick decisions and the ball comes out. And if that arm strength isn’t elite like Ben (Roethlisberger), like Byron Leftwich, like a handful of guys in this league that have that kind of arm, you have to win above the neck and the ball has to come out on time. Decisions have to be made and you’re talking about delivery and getting the ball out. So to me, it starts with arm strength, but I’ve been able to see others that didn’t necessarily have that elite arm be very successful in their system.”

    (On how he rates Dobbs’ arm)
    “I’d say it’s very good, very good, strong, very good. There aren’t many throws that we would ask him to make that I haven’t already seen him do on tape.”

  • Michael Mosgrove

    but ben doesnt throw as many bombs as he used to anyways.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    russell wilson. not a super strong arm but a competent qb.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    Landry is an OK backup QB (at best) – and I’m not a hater. If Dobbs doesn’t unseat him as the backup by the 2018 season, then I believe Dobbs will be seen as another bad QB pick.

  • george

    I stand corrected I thought Landry signed a two year deal.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    I understand arm isn’t everything. it is just the aspect I was trying to pin down today.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    Except on 3rd & short!!!

  • Michael Mosgrove

    nevermind i was wrong. you were right.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    youre fine. my response was more to him than you.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    FWIW, P. Manning in the last 3-5 years of his career is the best example of a smart QB with a weak arm. Absent that last season he was spectacular with a well-below average arm.

    I, like Randy F., prefer my QB’s with a strong arm. Especially in our offense with the deep weapons we have.

  • george

    Either way they will know what they have in Dobbs by the time Landry’s contract is up. I agree that Dobbs doesn’t unseat Landry unless an injury occurs or Dobbs becomes the second coming of Dak Prescott.

  • Rotten Sircus

    Talk about what the kid does good ..!!!

  • Sojah


  • steelburg

    The offense is built more for the deep ball because that is the strength of Big Bens game. We have mostly big strong and fast WR that are more then capable of playing in the tradition west coast. The Cardinals offense back when we played them in the super bowl is what a Todd Hailey offense is suppose to look like it has since be adjusted for Ben.

  • Dorian James

    Lol,it’s as sure of a thing as there is

  • stan

    I don’t understand why you’d say that. First, Landry is an adequate back-up and no more than that, so the bar is not high and if you’re saying Dobbs can’t reach it then that’s quite an insult. Second, Dobbs’ third down issues are hardly a red flag, they’re merely the reason he’s not in the first round. His completion percentage overall is 63%, which is pretty darn good. Third, third down inefficiency is not solely on the QB and Fourth and most importantly, its not like he can’t improve, and do it quickly. The reports all said that Dobbs impressed everyone at the senior bowl with his sudden improvement.

  • GoSteelerz

    This. And maybe I’m wrong but isn’t it also true that Dobbs did not have a QB coach in college? And didn’t he also become more efficient and less turnover prone towards the end of his senior year? He is a developmental project yes, I’d be surprised (pleasantly) if he passed Landry this year. However, I think he has the tools, including mental tools and demeanor to lead a team in critical situations. I don’t know how good he will be, but I have reason to have optimism about this pick, it will just take some patience. Heck, Terry Bradshaw wasn’t good overnight. He was awful for his couple years, same with Steve Young. I say let’s give the guy a chance and see what he can do. Even if he isn’t the next starter after Ben, if he can be a good, dependable back up, then I’d say this was a good pick. If Landry becomes our #3 then I’d say we’re in pretty good shape.

  • Matt Correll

    I agree with all of your “reasons” I think. I see 4 bad drops by receivers and 2 that are apparent wrong routes. So of these 11 plays, it looks like 5 were really on Dobbs, and one of those was the throw that led the receiver out of bounds– which seemed like a good decision (to essentially throw it away). Given a couple of his picks we saw where he chose not to throw the ball away, it is good to see that at times he is willing to do so.

  • PaeperCup

    be patient. Long ways until training camp.

  • RickM

    There were 3 positive articles right after he was drafted.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    You make an interesting point, but I’m not sure I agree – maybe Haley looked West Coast because he had Warner then — we really don’t know, do we?

    I also don’t think Ben is the only deep weapon (I think our WR’s/blocking/routes are geared toward intermediate passing with occasional deep passes too). My opinion is you need a backup/successor that can play in the system rather than that will require it be overhauled. And, all things considered, i’d prefer a QB with a strong enough arm that any/all systems are available options.

  • Xclewsive

    Even in these negatives I see positives and a player who has potential to grow.

  • Keith Evans

    i think they are banking on Dobbs being bright enough and professional enough to right his wrongs,…does he have the natural talent and will to win and do it under pressure,…? those are big questions.

  • steelburg

    What makes you think that Dobbs can’t play in the system?

  • Jim Foles

    You should do this with Bens third downs in the red zone…

  • Jim Foles

    He will wipe out Landry.. He has more tools….

  • Matthew Marczi

    This is what happens when you have four starters on the line miss multiple games. So many of these are readily attributable at least in part to forcing him off his launch point. Yes, he has a lot of mechanical things to work out, including reestablishing his base, but there’s definitely a lot to talk about here about why these plays failed that are beyond his own role.

    On that note, I hope that some of the prior commenters are beginning to see more clearly the value of doing this study to put into better context why he had such poor numbers on the most critical down.

  • Edjhjr

    This was very good

  • Steelsmoke

    All things considered this was an excellent roll of the dice. Worst case scenario this man is #2 in a year or two.

  • SteelersDepot

    Slow clap

  • RickM

    The throws he definitely struggles with (PFF stats analysis) are corner routes and deep outs. He does seem to have accuracy problems throwing to the sidelines. Those throws and his downfield vision will be his biggest challenges. According to most reports, arm strength isn’t an issue. Maybe better mechanics and teaching will improve the accuracy. Time will tell.

  • John Pennington

    The young man is a rookie and has time to work on his game if given a chance.He will learn just liked everyone else so give him a break.

  • D.j. Reynolds

    Absolutely nothing yet and I’m hopeful he can do it very well. That post wasn’t about Dobbs, it was generic. I was simply saying why I was asking about his arm strength.

  • steelburg

    The arm strength thing is a far question to ask it’s hard to get a good gauge on it from watching his tape. But I think if they can clean up his footwork he has enough tools to at the very least be a nice back up.