Josh Dobbs should be Steelers backup quarterback, not Mason Rudolph

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (5) . Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Joshua Dobbs (5) . Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

Controversy is starting to stir as to who should be the Steelers backup quarterback. Here’s why it should be Josh Dobbs.

Ben Roethlisberger did not play well at the beginning of 2019 before going down with a season-ending injury. In a game-and-a-half of regular-season action, Ben completed just 35 of 62 passes for 351 yards (4.91 yards per attempt) and managed 0 touchdowns and 1 interception to give him a 66.0 passer rating, according to Pro Football Reference. While this was a small sample size, Steelers fans were excited to see what quarterback Mason Rudolph could do after completing 12 of 19 passes and throwing a pair of touchdowns against the Seahawks in his first NFL action.

Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. While Rudolph had his moments, most of them came in a gimmicky, Randy Fichtner-designed offense. By Week 12, Rudolph was benched at halftime against the Cincinnati Bengals (of all teams) after completing just 8 of 16 passes for 85 yards and throwing an interception. He wouldn’t see the field again until Week 16.

During the Cowboys game last week, Roethlisberger went down on a play where his knees were buckled underneath him after being sandwiched by two defenders. As he limped off the field, Steelers fans offered hope to Rudolph once more, but he fell flat. With just under a minute left before the half, all the third-year quarterback needed to do was gain about six yards or so to put Chris Boswell into chip-shot field goal range. However, he completed 2 of 3 passes for… 3 yards. Fortunately, Boswell was still able to drill a career-high 59-yarder after a penalty.

Steelers should roll with Josh Dobbs as the backup QB

I know that Pittsburgh has already made their decision as to who will backup Ben Roethlisberger against the Bengals. Mike Tomlin reinforced this in his press conference by stating that Rudolph would receive a majority of the first-team reps. However, the excuses to keep the former third-round pick as the first player off the bench are running out.

In 10 starts in 2019, Rudolph never managed more than 251 yards in a single game, and he averaged a dismal 176.5 passing yards per contest to go with his 5.7 adjusted yards per attempt on the season. This is reason enough for the Steelers to go with Joshua Dobbs.

Admittedly, Dobbs struggled in his only significant NFL game action, but that was two years ago in a west-coast road game against the Raiders. He deserves another shot to see if he can be a capable backup in this league.

Though he doesn’t have an NFL resume, Dobbs is a much more gifted football player than Rudolph. He has a relatively big arm and significantly more zip on his passes. However, the biggest improvement would be with his mobility. Dobbs is a terrific athlete who can escape the pocket, extend plays, and rush for first downs.

With all that’s been going on, the Steelers might want to consider dressing three quarterbacks for now. If for some reason Mason Rudolph had to play against the Bengals, I would give him two drives before making the switch, assuming he can’t get the ball rolling.

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Obviously, we hope that Ben Roethlisberger doesn’t have to leave the field for the remainder of the season, but if he does, I’ve seen enough of Mason Rudolph to this point. Pittsburgh should consider making Josh Dobbs the next man up at quarterback instead.