The story of Minnesota Vikings quarterback Josh Dobbs has taken over the National Football League. His picture is plastered on the NFL’s Twitter account and he’s been the talk of everyone in them media landscape.
The story has been great, but it’s not just about the story it’s about being successful.
Can Dobbs lead this Vikings team to success on a long-term basis? It’s the question that everyone wants the answer to. He has only been with the team for 15 days at this point and is likely done learning each of his teammates’ names.
When you look at the film, it’s not just about getting the win. Are the things that Dobbs is doing sustainable over a long period of time? The game against the Falcons was too much of an anomaly for many reasons, but the signals from Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints showed much more normal quarterback play.
Let’s dive into the all-22 to see what Dobbs is doing and if it can be sustainable.
Throw to Addison with guts
The throw itself is a risky one that could have easily been intercepted, but it’s the motif behind it that shows some sustainable play.
As a quarterback, you have to be able to trust both your arm and your receiver. Dobbs does that here.
Addison comes in a short motion toward the tight end and he runs a deep out route. Dobbs gets plenty of time to make the throw and he fires it to Addison. Unfortunately, he either doesn’t get enough zip on the ball or layers it deep enough and the ball has to go through Paulson Adebo’s hands.
Why is this sustainable? Dobbs doesn’t have enough chemistry with the receivers yet and that’s okay! Once he does, these throws will have better ball placement.
Having the wherewithal to stand tight in the pocket is a skill that some just never posses. Then again, how many quarterbacks have an offensive line performing as well as the Vikings?
Dobbs has an incredibly clean pocket, but nothing gets open down the field. Once he is in the pocket for long enough, his internal clock goes off. That is when he escapes the pocket and picks up a few yards.
Kirk Cousins was able to do this, but not nearly at the level that Dobbs can. As long as Dobbs doesn’t have an injury to his legs, this is something that can be taken advantage of.
Full field reads
As a quarterback, it’s pivotal that you be able to read the entire field. It makes defense both fear you and have to cover every inch of the field.
Expecting Dobbs to read the full field is something that is necessary long-term, but it would be objectively fine if he didn’t do that on Sunday. He had only been on the team for 12 days after all.
Well, there were many examples of Dobbs doing just that. Here, he goes from right to left and finds Brandon Powell on the return route for a first down.
If you can do a full field read, you can play quarterback in the NFL
Throwing on the move
One of the staples in the offensive tree that O’Connell comes from is the play-action bootleg. They use this to keep the defense guessing with their use of zone runs.
What makes this really impressive is how Dobbs goes through his progressions and doesn’t take the short route. That is what Cousins would do too often. Dobbs waits patiently and hits the intermediate crosser for a substantial gain.
Creating outside of structure
On the flip side of the coin, Dobbs is also comfortable trying to get yards on the ground when things break down.
Dobbs drops back to pass, but nobody is open. He works from left to right across the progression but nobody is open. The pocket begins to collapse on him and Dobbs takes things into his own hands.
When he bails to the left side, Dobbs is looking to throw the ball. When he sees that the corner is easily attainable, Dobbs takes a hard step inside to get Alontae Taylor off balance and it allows Dobbs to get the corner for the touchdown.
The best part of both of these plays is that they show sustainability. Dobbs continues to try and attack down the field before running the ball. That is how you make things happen.
The real intrigue with a quarterback that is also a successful runner is the ability to run specific plays to maximize his lets.
Here, the Vikings run a read-option play where the read defender is the safety lined up as a wide-nine. Dobbs keeps and Chandler becomes the lead blocker for a nice gain on third down.
The implementation of this and RPOs add another dynamic that the defense has to deal with.
Can Dobbs sustain this?
That’s the million-dollar question, right? The Vikings have a storied history of seeing success with backup quarterbacks in the past.
1987: Wade Wilson
1998: Randall Cunningham
1999: Jeff George
2017: Case Keenum
In three of those seasons, the Vikings made the NFC Championship Game. The infrastructure of the Vikings’ current makeup with players and the players that will be returning has them in a great spot.
Everything that Dobbs is doing in a vacuum is very sustainable. However, it’s difficult to play quarterback in the National Football League. Only time will tell if it’s going to be sustained or not.
The Real Forno Show