DAN BICKLEY

Reality has come for Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs

Oct 15, 2023, 5:37 PM | Updated: 9:14 pm

Joshua Dobbs tackled by Rams defenders...

Joshua Dobbs #9 of the Arizona Cardinals is tackled by Christian Rozeboom #56 and Ernest Jones #53 of the Los Angeles Rams during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium on October 15, 2023 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

They are stained by five losses in six games. Statistically, they are morphing into the bottom-feeding team we all feared. But we’re learning a lot about the 2023 Arizona Cardinals.

They fight. They play hard. Nobody accuses them of “Pretty Boy Football” anymore.

The new regime is extremely impressive given the circumstances. From general manager to coaching staff, the new crew has a clue. They are a gift to Michael Bidwill at a time when the Cardinals owner attempts to turn the page on an era of dysfunction while simultaneously enduring questions about his own leadership skills.

We have also learned there’s a reason why Joshua Dobbs is a career NFL backup.

After a 26-9 loss to the Rams in Los Angeles, it’s clear that the Cardinals quarterback is a stopgap measure and a work in progress. He is smart and confident and makes enough plays to keep the team competitive. His poise and his courage are commendable. His timely scrambles are partly why the Cardinals lead the NFL in rushing plays of 20 or more yards. It’s easy to be a fan.

But his inaccuracy is taking a serious toll, and it’s becoming clear that Dobbs is no real threat to Kyler Murray or the next franchise quarterback the team might select with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

For all the baby steps and moral victories during Dobbs’ tenure as starting quarterback, there have been many missed opportunities in the passing game. Statistics prove that Dobbs has been terrific in the middle of games, particularly in the second quarter, when his brainpower and athleticism allow him to make necessary adjustments.

But with Dobbs under center, the Cardinals have also become the worst fourth-quarter team in the NFL, outscored 64-7. He has been the culprit on many of the missed haymakers, the explosive plays that should’ve resulted in touchdowns. Hollywood Brown might be a borderline Pro Bowler at the moment if he were paired with a more accurate passer. And it’s hard to ignore how Dobbs’ worst mistakes seem to come at the worst time.

On Sunday, the fatal flaw occurred deep in Rams territory with the Cardinals trailing 16-9 and driving for a game-tying touchdown. First, Dobbs made a poor read, missing a wide-open Rondale Moore in the middle of the field for a certain touchdown. Instead, he threw behind tight end Zach Ertz, resulting in a tipped interception that assured their latest defeat.

It sounds harsh to a player who did many good things against the Rams, a player who has been tasked with an impossible assignment. But predictably and painfully, Dobbs is regressing with exposure. The more film he produces, the more vulnerable he becomes to the league’s savvy and cutthroat defensive coordinators. And after his sixth consecutive start on Sunday, the scouting report on Dobbs is becoming clear:

He’s good enough to get you beat.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 – 10 a.m. on Arizona Sports.

Presented By
Western Governors University

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