Dobbs, Rudolph feeling more ‘comfortable’
PITTSBURGH — The battle is on for the backup quarterback spot in Pittsburgh.
Josh Dobbs and Mason Rudolph led the offense on four scoring drives as the Steelers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 30-28 on Friday night in the preseason opener for both teams.
Two-time Super Bowl winner Ben Roethlisberger gave way to recent draft picks Dobbs and Rudolph to battle for the backup quarterback job.
“It was good to get out there, make plays and move the ball efficiently,” Dobbs said.
In Tampa, the Buccaneers want to see if Jameis Winston is the long-term answer at quarterback this season. His short sting Friday was a positive step.
Winston led the Bucs’ first-team offense to a touchdown in his only offensive series against a Steelers defense that featured few regulars.
“We executed pretty well and really established the run game,” Winston said. “When you run the football well, you get touchdowns on the first drive.”
Dobbs started and played two series, going 5 of 8 for 85 yards and throwing an interception that was nullified because of offsetting penalties. Dobbs, a fourth-round draft pick in 2017, also had two third-down scrambles for 44 yards, including a 36-yarder that set up a 33-yard field goal by Chris Boswell.
Rudolph entered on the third series and played into the third quarter. He finished 5 of 8 for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Rudolph, the Steelers’ third-round pick in 2018, completed all three attempts during his first series, including an 8-yard touchdown to James Washington, his college teammate at Oklahoma State. In the third quarter, a 59-yard catch-and-run by Johnny Holton set up a 3-yard score to Zach Gentry, the Steelers’ fifth-round pick.
“I’m more comfortable,” Rudolph said. “Just the way I’ve been feeling in practice and just coming along in my second year overall.”
Bruce Arians coached his first game for the Buccaneers, and he did it where he was an assistant coach from 2004-11, winning two Super Bowls. Arians, back on the sideline after a year of retirement, coached in Arizona for five seasons and, while in Pittsburgh, helped develop Roethlisberger into one of the league’s top quarterbacks.
The Bucs hope he can do the same with Winston, the No. 1 overall pick in 2015 who led the league’s top-ranked passing offense in 2018, but has been spotty.