Joshua Dobbs got some advice from Ben Roethlisberger prior to his preseason debut.
“Throw it to our color,” the veteran Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback told the rookie QB.
Dobbs, a fourth-round draft pick from Tennessee, did not initially do what the two-time Super Bowl winner told him on Friday night in the Steelers’ 20-12 victory over the New York Giants in their preseason opener at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Dobbs threw a pair of interceptions early that the Giants turned into two field goals. However, he bounced back from the early struggles to combine with wide receiver Cobi Hamilton on two big pass plays, a 44-yarder that set up a field goal, and a 28-yarder that went for a touchdown.
The Steelers wound up winning, as Dobbs played into the second half and completed 8 of 15 passes for 100 yards.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin praised Dobbs for his demeanor and communication skills. Dobbs was happy that he corrected his early mistakes.
“You know football is a game of adversity, so a couple of learning opportunities occurred pretty quick in the game,” Dobbs said. “But we were able to learn from them and respond well, and continue to compete, and then come back and make some plays as the game progressed on.”
Even though it was a preseason game and he previously played in the rugged SEC, Dobbs said he quickly could tell how different professional football is from the college version. The biggest change for Dobbs is hearing the play calls in his helmet rather than looking to the sidelines for hand signals or flashcards.
“There were some things just to grow on and become quicker and smoother with my communication,” Dobbs said. “It was a great learning opportunity. I’ll be able to grow and be more fluid the next time we’re out on the field next week.”
Dobbs got plenty of playing time as Roethlisberger was held out of action and No. 2 quarterback Landry Jones missed the game because of a strained oblique muscle. Bart Houston, a rookie free agent from Wisconsin, finished the game and was 2 of 7 for 24 yards.
During his collegiate career, Dobbs had a 23-12 record and finished as the third-leading passer in Tennessee history. Perhaps even more impressive was his work in the classroom, as he earned a degree in aerospace engineering.
Thus, it is not surprisingly that Dobbs has impressed Tomlin and offensive coordinator Todd Haley by being a quick learner of the Steelers’ system.
“He’s a bright-eyed willing worker,” Tomlin said. “It appears he learns from his mistakes, and I think that’s good.”
Dobbs came to understand the vagaries of being a quarterback at a young age, forced into a game against Alabama as a freshman when starter Justin Worley sustained a thumb injury. Thus, Dobbs prides himself on staying prepared.
“I learned quickly at the college level that you never know when your time is going to come,” Dobbs said. “It’s a peculiar position that you play. You’re expected to, whether you have one rep in practice or you have 50 reps in practice, to come in and play at a high level, just as the starter did.
“You have to own the playbook, own the offense, play with confidence and keep moving forward.”
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