TEMPE, Ariz. — New Arizona Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs said he was “excited” when he found out he was getting traded from the Cleveland Browns last Thursday after nearly signing with Arizona in the spring.
Dobbs said he was “definitely” close to joining the Cardinals as a free agent but said his familiarity with the Browns, with whom he played most of the 2022 season, led him to return to Ohio.
“Everything works out for a reason, right?” Dobbs said in his first news conference with his new team.
Dobbs will end up having about two weeks to learn the Cardinals’ offense, his teammates’ names and their tendencies before Arizona plays the Washington Commanders in Week 1. Even though coach Jonathan Gannon declined to name a starting quarterback for the season opener, Dobbs said he has put the expectations of being a starter on himself.
Kyler Murray will open the season on the physically unable to perform list and miss at least the first four games.
“I know the QB situation’s gonna play out however the coaches see fit,” Dobbs said of the team’s decision between him and fifth-round rookie Clayton Tune. “But, for me, I come in ready to compete every single day. I push myself, but also approach the room in that way, and so I’m excited to be a part of it and be a part of the team.”
Should Dobbs have the opportunity to start against Washington, having played just eight games in six seasons, he said he feels like he’ll be ready because of the time it has taken him to reach the point of being a Week 1 starter.
“If that is the case, you know, I put in a ton of work,” he said. “I have a ton of sweat equity, and I’m extremely prepared for the opportunity, but that doesn’t mean I’m ever complacent, using every hour, every minute of the day … to continue to prepare for that opportunity, whatever opportunities come after it.”
Coming to a new team after the preseason and just weeks before the regular season begins, one advantage Dobbs will have in shrinking his learning curve is a familiarity with the offense that new Cardinals offensive coordinator Drew Petzing has installed. Petzing was the Browns’ quarterbacks coach last season and Dobbs also worked with Arizona’s quarterbacks coach, Israel Woolfork, who was a coaching fellow working with the Browns quarterbacks last season.
“Obviously there’s similar schemes to Cleveland, knowing Drew and Izzy came from there, but every coach has their own nuances and spins that they like to put on the playbook as well as combining stuff that has been here and stuff that the players here have done well for a long time,” Dobbs said.
“So, even though it might be similar terminology every playbook has its own, different spin to it. So, especially coming in and at the QB position, whenever you’re out there, you have to run the show, in and out of the huddle, at the line of scrimmage and communication with all the guys, and so that looks different when different guys are in there. So, just getting up to speed as quickly as possible, that’s what I’ve been diving into, not only on the field, but in my free time and I’m enjoying it.”
It’s already paying off.
Cardinals coach Jonathan Gannon said Dobbs is already “very” comfortable in the offense.
“He went in there yesterday and operated accordingly,” Gannon said.
Tight end Zach Ertz said there’s already been “a lot” of communication with Dobbs between reps to talk about what Dobbs wants from Ertz against certain looks. Ertz’s initial impression of Dobbs, who was an aerospace engineering major at Tennessee, is that he is “smart, obviously.”
“I think that’s well noted. He’s an astronaut or whatever he is,” Ertz said with a smirk.
“He’s a guy that understands football. He’s played a lot of football. He’s got a really good grasp of this offense. Obviously, he’s played it in the past. So, him coming into the huddle, calling the plays, calling the formations has been seamless so far and he throws a very catchable ball, which as a receiver you like.”
Dobbs called the past few days a “whirlwind logistically” moving cross-country. He documented his day packing up in Cleveland and flying to Arizona on Saturday in a TikTok that has been viewed more than 860,000 times.
When Dobbs arrived at the facility at 6:30 a.m. Sunday morning, one of the first teammates he met was fellow quarterback Kyler Murray, who was already doing his rehab and getting ready for the day.
Since then, Dobbs has been picking Murray’s brain in the quarterback’s room.
“I know we’ll continue to build a rapport during my time here, and it’s all part of getting to know your teammates,” Dobbs said.
When Dobbs is in the Cardinals’ facility, the routine of day-to-day football life is in motion. One of the biggest adjustments to getting traded, he said, was everything outside the facility, like finding places to eat.
One of the first things Dobbs talked about after his first practice Wednesday was his new climate.
“Good to be in the sun,” he said. “It was nice and hot at practice, which was fun.”