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Josh Dobbs trade reevaluation

Is there now a stronger understanding of why the Arizona Cardinals gave up a 5th round pick to acquire Josh Dobbs?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Soon after the Cardinals cut Colt McCoy, the QB who had made the majority of the first team reps throughout the off-season and then traded a 5th round pick to the Browns for their backup QB Josh Dobbs — with a little over two weeks until the first game — I deemed the move a charade. And then doubled down on that take when Dobbs, who was decent early on, fumbled away the Week 1 game versus the Commanders.

For me, it wasn’t so much about the player (I had been championing for the Cardinals to sign Josh Dobbs in free agency) —- it was about the timing and the compensation.

Giving Josh Dobbs a mere six full practices to be ready to start Week 1 seemed absurd and an act of desperation.

Giving up a 5th round pick for a career backup QB to this point—- the same compensation the Cardinals received for their highest graded player on the team last year in LT Josh Jones —- seemed equally troubling —- particularly in light of D.J. Humphries’ injury history, combined with the anticipation that Kyler Murray would be returning to action at some point in the near future.

What angered me the most about the timing and the decision to roll with Dobbs as soon as Week 1 was how it would handicap whatever chances the Cardinals might have to win at Washington versus the Commanders and in the home opener versus the Giants. Those appeared to be two of the more winnable games on the Cardinals’ extremely challenging schedule.


While I may have been correct about the timing of the Dobbs trade in the sense of limiting the team’s chances to win in Weeks 1 and 2, it appears that in light of how quickly and fluently Josh Dobbs has assimilated into the offense over the course of 3 games, the big question is —- when Monti Ossenfort made the trade for Josh Dobbs at JG’s, Drew Petzing’s and Israel Woolfork’s behest, was the context of why the trade occurred different than what I and others may have imagined at the time?

Josh Dobbs’ QBRs:

  • Week 1 —- 23.4 (16-20 L)
  • Week 2 —- 74.9 (28-31 L)
  • Week 3 —- 83.9 (28-16 W)

Dobbs in Very Good Company League-Wide:

This “tight window” stat makes Josh Dobbs’ high completion percentage (72.0%) even more impressive.

If you haven’t as yet watched J.T. O’Sullivan’s (QB School) video analysis of Josh Dobbs’ performance versus the Cowboys, feast your eyes on this:

Cardinals’ Front Office Context for the Dobb’s Trade?

While it is difficult to understand why Monti Ossenfort didn’t make more of an effort to sign Josh Dobbs in free agency —- and why he decided to roll with Colt McCoy instead —- it is starting to look like the trade for Josh Dobbs was made with not only a short-term vision, but also with a long-term investment, depending on how well Dobbs could fit into Drew Petzing’s offense and bond with his new teammates.

The QB Boxes in Drew Petzing’s offense that Josh Dobbs appears to have already checked:

  • Precise footwork on play action bootlegs, read options and waggles
  • Very comfortable taking snaps under center
  • Strong and accurate arm
  • Plus factor mobility
  • Speed as a runner in the open field
  • Good downfield vision from pocket and variety of launching points at 6’3”, 216
  • Short yardage ability on QB sneaks
  • Enthusiastic Leadership
  • Syncing up with his receivers
  • Elite communication skills
  • Patience
  • Calmness
  • High Energy
  • Cerebral understanding of the playbook and weekly game preparations
  • Media Savvy

The QB Boxes that Josh Dobbs has yet to prove he can check

  • Ball security (which vastly improved in Weeks 2 and 3)
  • Touch and accuracy on deep passes (small sample size to date)

Is it a given that Kyler Murray is a better fit than Josh Dobbs in Drew Petzing’s offense?

In perusing the QB boxes above, which of the criteria will be the biggest challenges for Kyler to master?

Which of the boxes stand out the most to you?

For the first time in Kyler’s football career, he is being asked to adapt his game to a more structured and diverse system. Asked to take considerably more regular snaps from under center and repping the precise footwork on the running plays, on drop back passes and most especially on the variety of play action passes (with a variety launching points) is going to take Kyler some time, not only to feel comfortable with, but to feel a strong sense of confidence in his assignments.

With the increased amount of pivoting, turning and maneuvering in and around the pocket, Kyler is going to have to feel confident in the strength and flexibility of his knee. This also, quite understandably, should require sufficient time.

During game weeks teams only have 3 full practices. That too could have a bearing on how long it may take for Kyler to feel ready to play.

Timetable for Kyler’s return?

What do you make of this rather cryptic statement from JG?


Drew Petzing and Israel Woolfork, who worked with Josh Dobbs in Cleveland, were so curious to see just how well Josh Dobbs would fit into their offense that they were willing to sacrifice the short term results for the potential long term benefits.

Petzing and Woolfork have to be ecstatic about the way in which Josh Dobbs has so quickly manifested a command of the offense and the requisite footwork fundamentals and passing accuracy, while providing the team impressive mobility and leadership.

The question is how well can Josh Dobbs sustain and build upon the current level of his play in what is now his first extended stretch as a NFL starter.

For this aspiring astronaut, here in Arizona for the first time in his career, it appears that for Josh Dobbs’ chances to emerge as a bona fide, successful NFL starting QB, the sky truly could be the limit.

Dobbs in Full Orbit

ROTB Poll:


Do you think that Drew Petzing wants to keep Josh Dobbs as the starting QB in his offense?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Yes, which explains the 5th round pick
    (61 votes)
  • 21%
    Yes, Petzing is very high on Dobbs’ talent
    (89 votes)
  • 28%
    No, Dobbs is just a short-term stop gap
    (116 votes)
  • 23%
    No, Petzing must be higher on Kyler Murray
    (95 votes)
  • 6%
    No, the plan all along is to draft a QB in Round 1 next April
    (27 votes)
  • 4%
    (18 votes)
406 votes total Vote Now

My hunch: yes, Petzing is extremely confident in Josh Dobbs’ talent and leadership —- and nifty fit at the position..

Your hunch?