In the span of seven days, Arizona Cardinals quarterback Joshua Dobbs was benched, traded to the Minnesota Vikings and led a comeback victory for his new team despite not knowing his teammates, or the playbook. It will go down as one of the stories of the 2023 NFL season, and Dobbs has a chance to build on it by leading Minnesota to the playoffs.
"So I go to the facility on Monday and JG (Jonathan Gannon), the head coach in Arizona, calls me to his office and he says, 'Hey, we're going to start Clayton Tune in Cleveland,'" said Dobbs, via AtoZ Sports. "And this is leading up to Kyler's (Murray) return. I'm not sure when he comes back, but I think he comes back soon so they want to see what the rookie can do. So I understood. I was upset with it, but I understood the situation the franchise was in at that moment."
Monday was the day before the Oct. 31 trade deadline. Tuesday morning, Dobbs got a message from his agent saying he could be traded for the second time in as many months. However, he was told by Coach Gannon that he would not be traded.
"So I went home and talked to my agent, just told him about the situation," continued Dobbs. "Went to sleep, woke up Tuesday morning with a text from my agent saying, you could be traded today because it's the trade deadline. And listen to this -- when I had my meeting with JG in Arizona, he looked at me in the face and he said, 'You're not getting traded, you're not being released, you're going to be here in Arizona'. I was like, okay, cool. So then I woke up to that text saying alright the trade deadline's in four hours, you could be traded, you could go to Minnesota or go back to Cleveland. I was like this day is about to be nuts."
Dobbs was correct in assuming the day was going to be wild. Just hours before the trade deadline, he was told he was being dealt to the Vikings.
"So the last 36 hours, whatever was told to you, something different has happened," Dobbs said. "You were told you're starting in Cleveland the next week against your previous team, and then the next day, you were told you're not starting but you're not getting traded and then the next day you wake up, you're being told that oh, you are being traded, and you're traded to Minnesota."
Dobbs was brought in after Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins tore his Achilles vs. the Green Bay Packers, but rookie Jaren Hall was to start in Minnesota's Week 9 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. However, in the first quarter, Hall suffered a concussion and was taken out of the game. In came Dobbs, who was with this new team for just a couple days.
Three plays into his Vikings career, Dobbs took a safety. The very next possession, he fumbled after being sacked. Things weren't looking good, but the 28-year-old signal-caller then led a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive just before halftime to cut the deficit to one point.
Dobbs of course didn't have any time to learn the playbook, so he relied on Vikings head coach Kevin O'Connell to relay all the information he needed to know inside his helmet. O'Connell was giving him everything he possibly could whether it was audibles, progressions or protection calls before the play clock hit 15 seconds, which is when communication is cut off. O'Connell was literally telling Dobbs the routes he had on each side as quickly as he could.
"It would be like this: He would say, 'On your right, you got a go (route), you got an out, and you got a ...' (it) cuts out," said Dobbs.
In the second half, Dobbs led four scoring drives, including an 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a game-winning touchdown pass to Brandon Powell with 22 seconds remaining in the game.
Dobbs completed 20 of 30 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns vs. the Falcons, and rushed seven times for 66 yards and another score. He became just the second quarterback in NFL history to record 20 passing attempts for different teams in consecutive weeks, and the first player in Vikings franchise history to record a passing touchdown and rushing touchdown in a debut.
Dobbs clearly possesses a different kind of poise, and will now have the opportunity to start for the remainder of the season for the Vikings.