About a week before the 2018 season began, Joshua Dobbs didn't know what his future was going to hold. He was in a competition with Landry Jones during the preseason for the role as Ben Roethlisberger's backup and a final decision was still up in the air.
Until his phone rang.
On an early September afternoon Dobbs got a call from offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner delivering the news. Not only was he on the 53-man roster, he was officially the team's No. 2 quarterback behind Roethlisberger and ahead of rookie Mason Rudolph.
"Randy called me and it was kind of cool," recalled Dobbs. "In that situation, every time the phone rings you're kind of on edge. I had a massage at 11 a.m., and I hadn't heard anything all week since the Thursday night game. Every time my phone vibrated in the massage I was on edge wondering what was going to happen.
"It was a cool experience though. It taught me how you approach every single day matters. Whether it's a workout to a meeting to a practice field, you know coaches see that. If you go out and execute and play at a high level, you're given your opportunities and you'll reap what you work for."
It was the beginning of what turned out to be a season much different than his rookie one, where he didn't take a snap and barely got a rep in practice.
"It was definitely a different year and a more action packed year," said Dobbs. "Obviously you get more reps in practice and on Wednesday, I got some looks with the starting offense. Get around those guys, getting in front of those guys and an opportunity to lead them in that capacity.
"Those reps helped a lot. It was a big jump getting those reps in your own offense, with your own terminology and with the looks you're going to see on Sunday. Any reps you get are valuable, but the real game time reps hold a different value than any other rep. Those opportunities helped my progression and then be able to go upstairs to watch with Randy and break it down to see what I improved on, what I did well, really helped prepare me. The reps are invaluable. Other guys in similar situations probably feel the same, getting those extra reps do help. They help so much when you get your opportunity."
Now don't be mistaken. Dobbs' opportunities weren't exactly plentiful, completing six of 12 passes for 43 yards. But it was still different. He knew he was the next man up if needed, always needing to be 100 percent ready at a moment's notice.
That came into play against the Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium last season. Roethlisberger left the game with an injury for one play, and Dobbs was called upon to take his first snap in an NFL regular season game. And it was a huge one. The Steelers were facing a second-and-20 from the five-yard line, Dobbs' first pass was a 22-yard strike to Smith-Schuster to move the chains. And after that Roethlisberger was back in the game.
While it was only one play, it was something that showed everyone they could have faith in the young quarterback, even in a tough situation.
"It all happened so fast I really didn't even get time to think about what was going on," said Dobbs. "It was kind of just like practice like when they say, 'Josh you're up for your rep, go play.' At that point the thinking is not there, you're playing football and you're reacting. It happened so fast."
It was fast, and there weren't a ton of reps the remainder of the season, but Dobbs loved the moments he did get.
"It's fun to get out there on the field, playing the sport you love in any capacity. I really enjoy it," said Dobbs. "The quarterback position, only one guy plays so sometimes your opportunities could be scarce. You never know when you're going to get your opportunity. You have to be prepared, train, practice as if you are going to play, and play like you're going to play Sunday out. It's always a blessing to step on the field to do what you love."