Josh Dobbs embracing the journey as he gets up to speed with Cardinals

Aug 30, 2023, 7:19 PM

TEMPE — “Everything works out for a reason, right?”

Quarterback Josh Dobbs was real close to calling Arizona his new home earlier this offseason.

With his familiarity with offensive coordinator Drew Petzing and quarterbacks coach Israel Woolfork from their time in Cleveland together in addition to having crossed paths with general manager Monti Ossenfort in Tennessee and playing with running back James Conner in Pittsburgh, Arizona was chock full of connections to the signal caller.

Despite interest from both sides, they never came to an agreement, with the then-free agent heading back to the Browns and the Cardinals forced to look for other options.

All that work and research both sides put into one another wasn’t done for naught, though, with Arizona circling back on Dobbs in a trade with Cleveland last Thursday.

He’s not just a depth piece, either, with Dobbs entering the week as the presumed Week 1 starter by many.

And regardless of how many snaps he gets between now and the season opener, Dobbs is ready for the chance to prove himself.

“I would say for myself, every time I step in the building I put starting expectations on myself,” he said Wednesday. “I know the quarterback situation is going to play out however the coaches see fit, but for me, I come in ready to compete every single day. I push myself but also approach the room in that way.”

“I’ve put in a ton of work, I have a ton of sweat equity, I’m extremely prepared for the opportunity but that doesn’t mean I’m ever complacent,” Dobbs added. “I’m using every hour, every minute of the day to always turn over the next stone to continue to prepare for that opportunity and whatever opportunities come after it.”

That’s not to say it’s an easy transition, with on- and off-the-field logistics to figure out and new routines to create. Among the biggest hurdles for the QB is just finding new places to eat and making his way around the Valley.

Luckily for Dobbs, he knows a whole lot about coming into a situation on the fly and competing.

With the Titans fighting to stay afloat in last season’s playoff race and in need of another arm, Dobbs was called on to come in on short notice and start the final two games of the year.

In the end, Tennessee was on the outside looking in when it came to the postseason, dropping the final two games of the year with Dobbs under center. He completed nearly 60% of his passes for 411 yards and two touchdowns to two interceptions.

It was far from the result Dobbs or the Titans wanted, but it proved to be a valuable experience for the quarterback, who will now use what he picked up for his days in Tennessee and over time as a blueprint for his acclimation in the desert.

“Ironically, it’s happened twice for me in the last (eight) months,” Dobbs said. “It’s a unique process. The quickest thing you can do is get the logistics of the offense, understand the play calls, getting in and out of the huddle, learning teammates’ names and faces, communicate with them and then just be yourself.

“We all play professional football, we all spend a lot of time on our craft here in the complex and what I’ve learned the most is guys respect guys that are authentic and themselves. That’s who I am, that’s how I approach this opportunity at the podium or in front of my teammates or on the field. Just be able to go and lead them, help contribute to this team in whatever my role may be, I’m really excited about it.”

Almost a devil

Fun fact: Dobbs was nearly an Arizona State Sun Devil before eventually heading to Tennessee.

Now working for the pro team in the desert, Dobbs reflected back on the why behind his decision to decommit from ASU in favor of Tennessee.

“As fate would have it, I had to get to Arizona somehow,” Dobbs said. “I was committed to Arizona State for eight months. This was back when signing days were in February so it’s the cliche story of decommitting the day before signing day and going to Tennessee which was hurtful to ASU faithful. It’s good to be out here now. I was very close. Coach (Mike Norvell) was the offensive coordinator at that time and I was really looking forward to playing for him.

“I ended up going on my official visit to Tennessee and I really loved it. Geographically, it was closer to home. And I had an opportunity to play a little earlier in my career at University of Tennessee than ASU, but they both had tremendous aerospace engineering programs which was really important to me. I was really close but I made it out here now. It all comes full circle.”

Hi, I’m Hayden

Dobbs’ transition to the Cardinals isn’t just about learning the Xs and Os or growing accustomed to his surroundings.

There’s also the necessary — and sometimes tedious task — of getting to know his teammates all over again.

Sometimes introductions happen before practice. And sometimes they happen after, as was the case with Dobbs and center Hayden Howerton.

“He came up to me working out, ‘Hey, I’m Hayden. I know we worked together today. You took some snaps from me. My name’s Hayden,'” Dobbs said. “There’ll be some of that, but we’ll have fun with it.

“There’s a lot of turnover in the NFL in general. Not only this week but in the offseason, year to year, week to week even, so learning new teammates, meeting new people is a part of the game, a part of the profession and so I’m looking forward to it.”

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