Joshua Dobbs Shows Why Landry Jones Is Still The Backup

In a year in which there were some—perhaps many—who worried that the quality of talent at the quarterback position during the draft was dubious at best, we certainly saw a number of encouraging performances from some of the top names that came off the board, including Mitchell Trubisky, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, and DeShone Kizer.

Two rookie quarterbacks squared off last night between the Giants and the Pittsburgh Steelers, with the former trotting out third-round pick Davis Webb at the end of the game with the third-string personnel, and the latter giving fourth-round Joshua Dobbs the opportunity to start the game—though there was really no other viable alternative, given their circumstances.

Veteran backup quarterback Landry Jones has been dealing with an abdominal injury for the bulk of the past week, and Ben Roethlisberger is obviously far too valuable to see much of any playing time in the opening game of a preseason schedule, so that left just Dobbs and undrafted rookie camp arm Bart Houston to command the offense against the Giants.

And I think that Dobbs showed that night why he is not being rushed into a role to serve as Roethlisberger’s backup quarterback during his rookie season, because while he may not have been working with a full deck in terms of the personnel around him on offense, he showed that he still has plenty of things to work on before he can be relied upon.

That is not to say by any means that he is somehow behind the curve and is struggling. It is entirely common for a rookie quarterback to, well, look like a rookie quarterback in his first NFL action ever. But the simple truth is that he did look like a rookie quarterback, even if he made some solid throws, including a pair of deep passes on which he connected.

Personally, my biggest takeaway from Dobbs’ performance last night was the fact that he showed his accuracy to be of legitimate concern…or at least, shall we say, interest. He struggled frequently, from his first snap to his last, to connect on short and intermediate passes.

Even a number of the six short to intermediate passes that he did manage to connect on with his receivers were the result of his targets overcoming inaccurate passes that were either thrown too high or too wide in one direction or another. An early running back screen pass was thrown too high, for example.

There is no need or reason for the Steelers to rush the development of Dobbs. His rookie season should be a period of learning and adjusting his mechanics to the NFL level. Jones will remain the backup for a little while longer, to the chagrin of many.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • He may have been decent in college, but the pros? Hmm, we’ll see.

  • igloojoe

    I disagree. If anything, last night showed why Dobbs should be viewed as the long term backup this year. As in, if Ben misses significant time this year. We’ve all seen LJ struggle tons in the preseason, yet Dobbs looked collected, even after the two picks. Yes, I want to see more consistency, but Dobbs made 3 throws yesterday that Jones will never be able to make.

  • hdogg48

    The Giants started their entire first string D with the exception
    of Jason Pierre Paul. I think most people would call that
    squad elite…just ask Dallas.

    Dobbs only had two first string Oline starters in AV and Ramon
    Foster, and no weapons ie Bell, AB, Bryant, etc.

    This was a trial by fire to which IMHO Dobbs acqutted
    himself nicely.

  • blue

    Dobbs moved the ball consistently, had a touchdown pass taken away and did something that Landry Jones never does in preseason and that’s lead the team to victory. Bye Bye Landry.

  • hdogg48

    Watch what he does against Atlanta with Pouncey
    and Decastro back in, and AB and Bryant split out wide
    and Rogers in the slot.

  • Joseph Shaw

    Anyone who puts heavy significance on a rookie QB’s first action is being silly. Nobody expects Dobbs to be a finished product. He’s a project. I think there were nice elements on display. We will see how he develops. And your point about the Giants’ defense having its first string out early–spot on.

  • John Pennington

    If he can see what went wrong on tape he should learn from it but he is a rookie and needs time Jones got 4 years so not worried at this point.He needs to see the field better and alot on his short passing game throws way to high and behind.He has to catch up on the speed of the game and look off the defense and this comes in time.

  • Tristana

    gilbert and decastro started and played almost 2 quarters. just sayin

  • RickM

    Totally agree. 2017 will almost certainly be too early for Dobbs to be #2 unless he can somehow find that accuracy. He already has the challenge of learning how to read D’s and not be tricked by them. Add in a few too many passes off the mark and Landry is the safer choice. All that said, Dobbs has the potential to have a higher ceiling than Jones if he can clean some stuff up.

  • hdogg48

    That play where Landon Collins broke in untouched
    and sacked Dobbs, when he anticipated the snap
    count was an all pro play by an all pro.

    That guy is a beast….wish we had him.

    None of the QB greats in Canton or headed that way
    could have avoided that sack.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    I for one liked the plays Dobbs did make and I definitely am not saying either one is the back up or whatever, but Landry has to get it together too! He threw 5 picks (or was it 6) last year in a preseason game. I good with Landry and Dobbs played alot better when he calmed down. I think once we got our receivers back they will have better showings.

  • Rocksolid20

    Give him some time . Lets not rush to judgement .

  • RickM

    Granted it’s only one game, but the inaccuracy that was on display at Tennessee was apparent last night. It’s not a one game thing. I think there were some positive things, but like Matthew I think it’s a real longshot that Dobbs will surpass Jones in 2017. That’s not surprising given where he was drafted, and Jones’ obvious experience advantage.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Mixed feelings on this one. Dobbs play was so so but he showed some good things getting the offense in and out of the huddle and also bouncing back from the 2 picks to getting it together for the TD throw and a couple of nice deep balls.

  • pittsburghjoe

    And Landry will show us why he is nothing more than a clip board holder… I think Dave or Alex said it best, regardless of the outcome Dobbs was going to be the crux of all conversations good or bad.

  • Robert E Lil

    Dobbs looked a lot better in my mind than what I thought we’d see. He has a good throwing motion. They just need to try and give him some success with pre set plays – let him figure out the rest

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Played more like a racket stringer, not a rocket scientist, with some really dumb decisions.

  • Wayne’O

    Way to early to speculate on the future of Dobb’s, after only 1 pre season game. I wasn’t disappointed in his performance at all. But it is very painful to watch Landry Jones when he is in the lineup. Especially during last years pre season game against the Eagles, when his stat line was 7/20, 111 yards, 4 ints, 0 TD’s, in a 17-0
    shut out loss. By the way, this horrendous performance was the work of a 4 year vet, not a rookie.

  • T. Heflin

    Landry Jones threw 6 picks in last year’s pre season game against the Eagles, and he’s been a pro for awhile now, so no Dobbs performance last night didn’t prove why Jones should back up Ben to me

  • francesco

    We talk of time as if there is time?!

  • Jim Foles

    If LJ is not playing he will get the chance..

  • David Mcrobbie


  • Jim Foles

    Right… He also had 33 not helping at all.

  • Jim Foles

    They sure made 33 look good??

  • nutty32

    After setting down Dobbs showed good poise so he has a chance. Already looks more ready than the Rams’ Goff.

  • cencalsteeler

    Dobbs is going to be alright. Lets put yesterdays game in the memory bank and maybe we can compare it to his last preseason game. I’m betting we see a much more relaxed and improved QB. I admittingly didn’t watch him much in college, but it seems like he has a similar skillset to Dak, but was strapped down due to scheme (and his first ever NFL game). If they let him loose, I’d bet we’ll see a much better showing. In due time…..

  • eric

    shhh this doesn’t fit the agenda some people have

  • Reggie Cunningham

    Who wrote this? 1 game. Landry had M. Bryant, AB and Bell and still look like crap. I’m pretty sure if Dobbs had that it would’ve been a total different outcome. I’ll take Dobbs over Jones. Jones looks confuse too me. After Dobbs 2 picks he looked more exciting

  • Reggie Cunningham

    That’s what need a guy that can bounce back. Jones would’ve taking that to his heart. Jones is not a real #2. Shop Jones and Dobbs and see gets picked up first. Anywhere Jones goes he would be a #3

  • Reggie Cunningham

    Lol….. thank you

  • Paul Kuhns

    He looks like a gun slinger to me. His long throws/hard passes were great. Playaction and run game with leveon I think he would do okay. Still really young and he had to face a top 5 defense with all their starters in

  • RickM

    He only started to look good when 2nd and 3rd stringers came in. When he faced 1st stringers he gave up two quick INT’s.

    Common sense tells you the guy with 4 extra years of experience – who has even started against New England – has the advantage over a rookie drafted in the 4th round. That’s reality. Dobbs will naturally need time to learn the most complex position in the NFL.

  • I.P. Freeley

    I’d rather see him struggle on short / intermediate passes than other areas.
    It seems that could be more easily fixed, and could have just been a result of nerves / timing that I think will improve with more reps.

  • Michael Conrad

    Dobbs is raw and he needs better foot work and step into the throw. I have concerns about his accuracy. I do think LJ should be the backup for this year. I also know Dobbs put some points on the board were LJ has had four years of preseason games and he stunk in most of them.

    Make no mistake about it if Ben goes down its over. LJ while he maybe more accurate then Dobbs he simply sucks and is not a good NFL backup QB.

    What Dobbs will do in the preseason is reinforce to the Steelers if they are serious about picking Ben’s replacement they will draft one next year in the first round.

  • Reg Sayhitodabadguy Hunt

    I agree I also think that Josh Dobbs will be okay rookie starting in his first big league game had to be nervous just like in his first training camp

  • dany

    Ok but let’s talk about games that matter. No, not the browns game in week 17 (which was a nice display without most offensive weapons and linemen) but the game against the pats. 1td 1int, plus a td called back on a bogus holding call. Against the #1 defense in the league

    I’m not saying he’s a top 5 backup, but he’s certainly much better than people give him credit for. His contract states what he is, a stopgap backup that you can survive a couple of games with. Dobbs at the moment has a higher ceiling, so high it’s not unfathomable he is looked at as a possibility to replace Ben when he retires. Gotta take it slow with him. For now, unless somehow shows me there’s a better backup on the street (I’d take Kaepernick but I know the steelers simply won’t) I’m happy with Landry behind Ben

  • mokhkw

    Patriots played a very vanilla D vs Jones, they do that against any QB who they consider to be incapable of beating them by consistently making throws & outscoring Brady. And they were right – again. But the Patriots were not the #1 D in the NFL at any stage last year.

  • Anthony Barnes

    True, but I would let Jones stay the back up this year so Dobbs can learn the play book.

  • Douglas Andrews

    That’s pretty accurate regarding Landry. In the games he’s started he doesn’t give you that feeling of wow we have a competent backup like the days of Charlie Batch it’s more of a I hope he doesn’t do something stupid like the awful INT’s he threw in the Patriots and KC games. That said Dobbs has to show me a bit more before i can start rooting for him as the #2. If Dobbs can put it together for the rest of the preseason he might just get that backup job. I’m sure Haley can put together a game plan for him should he need to function in an emergency situation and I will say i’m more excited about his potential even from his first game than I was about Landry. The other aspect that can help Dobbs is the inexpensive contract that Landry signed this offseason. It’s close to what a #3 QB would earn.

  • Anthony Barnes

    That profile pic tho

  • mokhkw

    L.Jones in his first PS action in 2013 had these stats over 3 games:

    30/66 – 45% – 348 yards – 5.3 ave – 2 TD – 3 INTs – 53.1 Rating

    L.Jones through 4 2016 PS Games:

    41/59 – 70% – 401 yards – 6.1 ave – 2 TD – 4 INT -71.4 Rating

    Obviously Jones has improved over the years but the question is can Dobbs progress faster than he did? Only time will tell and one game is too soon to make a prediction.

  • RickM

    While I agree that the Patriots played a vanilla D against Jones, their D was easily the #1 defense in the league last year. They gave up only 15.6 points a game. The Giants were 2nd best, but well behind, allowing 17.8 points a game

  • dany

    I don’t know how you would know they played a vanilla defense and when they do but I’ll have to take your word for it, don’t really follow the pats at all, but they were definitely the #1 D last year. Call it what you want in that they didn’t play many tough teams or whatever, but in plain numbers allowed they were and at the very least it implies you’re talking about a tough one. Our own Ben wasn’t able to crack it

  • mokhkw

    Good point & I stand corrected, while they weren’t #1 in yards allowed they were #1 in points allowed (which is what really counts).

  • RickM

    Dead on in YD’s allowed. Only 8th best. I guess they tightened up when it mattered most. I would add that they have a distinct advantage in that division they’re in…man the Jets, Buffalo and Miami. None are very threatening offensively.

  • mokhkw

    You’re correct about the D, it was #1 in points allowed last season which I didn’t realise.

    I download Patriots Football Weekly from a friend and they had an article about blitz % etc vs elite QBs and the rest. Ben got a package of blitzes and exotic looks that Jones never saw in the regular season. I do watch most of the Pats games, mainly because they are so good at scheming & adjusting in game compared to every one else. That does make watching the Steelers frustrating at times though and I’m guessing it’s the same for fans of other teams as well.

  • Reggie Cunningham

    Lol. some of you guys comments. He only looked good when the 2nd stringer came in. Man. You act like he’s been in the NFL for years. Some of those 2nd and 3rd stringer are just like him. Rookies ….

  • David Mcrobbie

    I don’t care don’t like it ts!

  • Jim Foles

    TousAint did not help Dobbs at all, really hurt him i think.. Bad blocking and horrible running. Watson should have started, Dobbs would have looked better with less pressure in the 1st qtr.

  • Jim Foles

    Shh… don’t tell the Landry fans that Dobbs looked better then Goff and Geno Smith.

  • RickM

    No regular season football games are played against 2nd string units, so of course his performance 1st-stringers is more important in evaluating him. He’s going to get very little, if any, playing time in pre-season against starters from now on. They’ll get the rust off Ben and Landry will return. There is probably a 5% chance at most that Dobbs will have shown them enough to be the starter if Ben goes down during the regular season.

    Could Ben get hurt, LJ play poorly and Josh gets some first-year snaps, of course. But Jones is the #2 QB now and he will be in Day 1 as Dobbs learns. That’s just doing the math of how every team NFL operates.

  • pittfan

    The dude has work to do. Give me LJ in a pinch for now. Keep working Dobbs!

  • Steeler Nation!

    Sample size is way too small and its way too early for any of this. He looked bad. Bad footwork, bad mechanics, off target on most of his completions, killing chances for YAC. He’s got a LONG way to go. But, it is his first game. Hopefully he’ll correct his flaws. He better. And we better be looking to draft another QB anyway, much earlier than round 4.

  • Jim Foles

    So get rid of Jesse James.. He nevers gets YAC…

  • Steeler Nation!

    We don’t need him to. We need him to find the void in the defense, post up and move the chains. We’ve got big play threats, so JJ doesn’t have to be. But we do need the QB to be a lot more accurate.

  • Jim Foles

    JJ has a hard time getting YAC.. thats why we signed Green for 20 Million.. We need a TE still.

  • Steeler Nation!

    You don’t have to convince me that we could upgrade the TE position. I’m just saying it isn’t as big of a problem with Bryant back and improved options at WR over what we had last year. Everyone should benefit from Bryant’s return.

  • Jim Foles

    Do a slow mo on Dobb’s first INT, Gilbert let his man get by and he swiped Dobbs arm creating the first INT… 33 let Dobbs get clobbered a few times. Hawkins nearly sent him to the meat wagon as did Feiler.. Dobbs did ok under all the pressure.

  • gentry_gee

    He looks like total garbage. He has horrible feet and presence in the pocket. His stance looks weak. He doesn’t look like NFL material at this point at all. Definitely not a natural that’s for damn sure.