Heading into the second game of his second season, Mason Rudolph is now the clear and unquestioned number two quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger, which is just where the Pittsburgh Steelers wanted him to be. While he was already the backup for the season opener, head coach Mike Tomlin kept the threat of last year’s number two, Joshua Dobbs, in the back of his mind.
With Dobbs being dealt to the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fifth-round pick, that threat is now gone, but so is that locker room relationship. Dobbs will get a chance to be the backup for the Jaguars while Nick Foles is out, at least, and may even have an opportunity to secure a more long-term backup role, but he’ll have to do so leaving friends behind.
Rudolph talked about Dobbs in the locker room after practice yesterday, via video from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, calling him “a great dude” and “a good friend, a really good guy, and I wish him the best moving forward”. He noted that the third-year quarterback came in to say his goodbyes to a number of teammates and coaches, adding, “that’s the kind of guy he is. He’s a first-class dude”.
It’s been a hectic start to a career for Dobbs. While he was pretty safe as the number three behind Landry Jones during his rookie season in 2017, the surprise drafting of Rudolph in the third round threw his future in jeopardy, and suddenly he was fighting for his football life.
Immediately after the draft, it was widely assumed that he would be the odd man out in a quarterback room that now included four viable candidates, but the Steelers ultimately felt comfortable enough by September in his progress to release Jones and allow Dobbs to be the backup.
This year, he competed against Rudolph to retain that backup role, which he ultimately lost. He was even put under threat once again, this time from undrafted rookie Devlin Hodges, whom the Steelers are now expected to re-sign (and perhaps will have already done by the time this publishes).
The quarterback room has seen a lot of changes over the course of the past few years, first losing Bruce Gradkowski, then Jones, and now Dobbs, two of whom have now been parted with in the first 17 months of Rudolph’s professional career.
“You still really can’t ever get used to losing good dudes, friends”, the Oklahoma State product said. “It is what it is, but we’ll stay in touch, and like I said, I wish him the best”.