When the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Joshua Dobbs in the fourth round in 2017, fans speculated he may be the franchise quarterback of the future. Fast forward to 2018 and Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert drafted quarterback Mason Rudolph in the third round. Again, Steelers fans speculated he was the heir apparent to future Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger. It thrilled half of the BTSC fan base that the drafting of Rudolph would spell the end to Landry Jones being Roethlisberger’s backup. These same fans point out how Jones showed no progression in his five years in Pittsburgh, and it was time for new blood in Pittsburgh. The other half worried whoever backed up Big Ben in 2018, lacked game experience. These same fans pointed out neither Dobbs nor Rudolph had many quality plays against starting caliber players in the 2018 preseason. No matter which side of the fence you fell on, the Jones era has ceased and fans viewed the growing pains of the young quarterback from Tennessee.
On Sunday, it was Dobbs who took over for an injured Big Ben and not Rudolph, as Rudolph has not surpassed Dobbs on the depth chart and remains mired as the third-string quarterback. Dobbs looked the part of a second string second-year fourth-round pick against the Oakland Raiders Sunday. On four drives, Dobbs netted the Steelers three first downs while completing 4-9 passes for 24 yards and an interception, while adding another 15 yards on two rushes. The four drives accounted for 2:26, 2:25, 2:12, and 1:23 as the Steelers offense was inept and accumulated 46 yards during the drives. Before Dobbs’ third drive, the Raiders marched down the field on a nine-play drive that ate 4:20 off the clock and could kick a long field goal before a sack by cornerback Mike Hilton caused a fumble by Raiders’ quarterback Derek Carr which the Steelers recovered at the 16-yard line.
The Steelers defense needed a breather, but it did not occur. The third Dobbs’ drive was just over two minutes which ended in an interception. Luckily, the interception was not costly and was followed by a Raiders’ drive which lasted 11 seconds and did not result in any points. On Dobbs fourth drive, the drive was a quick four and out that could not run the clock and keep the defense off of the field. The ensuing drive, the Raiders took the field and marched 14 plays and 73 yards that resulted in the short-lived go-ahead touchdown. The rest of the game is history as Roethlisberger took the field and put up a gutsy effort that came up just shy of the win.
Would a more experienced quarterback such as Jones have been able to milk the clock and extend drives to give the defense a breather against the NFL’s 18th ranked pass defense? That is debatable, but Dobbs’ inexperience and ability helped cause the Steelers to lose to a 2-10 Raider team. His interception and 12 passer rating kept the high octane Steelers offense off the field and out of scoring position forcing the Steelers into bringing in an injured Big Ben.
Dobbs and Rudolph are the future with the Steelers, considering Jones is not in the NFL. Do either signal caller have a legitimate shot at being the next face of the franchise? That should be left for debate in the offseason, especially with two tough games looming on the horizon. But Steelers fans have to be concerned with the future of the position for the Steelers, if what was witnessed in Week 14 was anything like the future normal for the franchise.