The Steelers run game suddenly looks capable with Josh Dobbs running the show.
In an essentially meaningless game for Pittsburgh, the Steelers might’ve added a new tool to their kit. The lack of a running game in the Steel City has long been a popular talking point, with James Conner and Benny Snell combining for one of the worst single-season efforts in franchise history. Heading into the final week of the season, the Steelers averaged just under 85 yards per game, a mark that ranks among the worst in franchise history. For a team that prides itself on a hard-nosed mentality, that just won’t cut it.
While the Steelers don’t gain much by playing the Browns tight on Sunday, they have found a new wrinkle that might help fix their issues in the run game, albeit temporarily.
Ben Roethlisberger isn't running like that. Neither is Mason Rudolph. Even James Conner was jacked up by the way Josh Dobbs bounced back from that hit.
If there is a takeaway from this game, please let it be: Dobbs can indeed have a role for a #Steelers play here and there.
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) January 3, 2021
Could Dobbs be featured in the playoffs for Pittsburgh?
Carrying three quarterbacks into a playoff game is a rarity for the Steelers — especially for a team so beleaguered by injuries at the linebacker position. But Dobbs has proven he can run the read-option with plenty of success, finding daylight that Pittsburgh has failed to see with the likes of Conner, Snell or their other backs this season.
Looking beyond this season, it’s unclear if Dobbs can provide much more than an offensive gimmick. His contract expires at the end of this season, so unless the Steelers want to keep him around as the practice squad QB, it’s unlikely he takes the step up to full-time backup, especially with Ben Roethlisberger entering what could be his final year with the franchise.
If the Steelers are smart, they’ll bring in a young prospect or proven veteran to back up Big Ben next year, especially since he’s taken a step back this season. It’s unlikely to get much better in 2021.
Dobbs’ best bet is to prove he’s more valuable than Mason Rudolph at this juncture. If the Steelers bring in a new backup, Rudolph and Dobbs will battle it out for the No. 3/practice squad position. Rudolph is signed through 2021, so the Steelers would have to re-sign Dobbs and give up on a former mid-round draft pick in the Oklahoma State product.
The Tennessee Vols great adds an explosive wrinkle to the Steelers run game, but will it last long enough to convince Kevin Colbert to keep him under contract moving forward?