Charlie Batch Thinks There Is More To The Steelers Drafting Landry Jones Than Meets The Eye

In a recent article by Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch weighed in on his former team signing backup Bruce Gradkowski this offeseason and drafting Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones in the fourth-round of the 2013 NFL draft this past weekend. Batch indicated that he thinks that the Steelers drafting of Jones goes “much deeper than what\’s on the surface …

“Maybe they weren\’t happy with what they had behind Ben and Bruce,” said Batch. “That could be. But ultimately, I think this isn\’t about replacing me. Big picture, maybe they\’re thinking, \’Can we develop Landry Jones to be the starter? Maybe two years from now, he could be our guy for the next 10 years.\’ We don\’t know. But with the contracts for quarterbacks these days, he\’d certainly be a heck of a lot cheaper than Ben at age 34 or 35 or 36.”

Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert explained the selection of Jones differently in a Monday morning interview on 93.7 The Fan.

“Quarterback is the most important position on any football team at any level and you can never disregard that position,” said Colbert. “We\’ve been able to get through with a couple of older guys that did great jobs for us in Charlie and Byron, but we felt that we wanted to get younger at that position. We always like to have a young guy in the mix, but the last couple of years we haven\’t been able to accomplish that. To Charlie\’s and Byron\’s credit they held off the young guys that we\’ve brought in, but it\’s just a matter of getting youth into that position.

“Even with Bruce Gradkowski, Bruce comes in as a younger, experienced backup, and of course adding Landry Jones and John Parker Wilson into the mix, now we have young guys coming up behind. And hopefully Ben Roethlisberger continues to play at a high level for us and he retires as a Pittsburgh Steeler, and maybe with a couple of more championships. That\’s everybody\’s hope, but in the meantime it\’s our job to provide the type of depth where you can always have a young guy in the mix.”

Maybe Batch, who I really doubt has an agenda here, is just in denial more than anything else. He needs to remember that he is 38-years-old now and has been a backup in Pittsburgh for 11 seasons. That\’s a long time and it was time to move on from both he and Byron Leftwich, who is 33-years-old and can\’t ever seem to stay healthy.

With the style of football that Roethlisberger plays, it lends itself to him getting dinged up and the Steelers can\’t risk putting themselves in the same position that they were in last year that even led to them having to add free agent quarterback Brian Hoyer to the roster for a short time.

On top of everything else, Roethlisberger is due for a contract extension next offseason and we all know that there is no guarantees as to how those talks will go. While we wouldn\’t expect there to be any problems, Roethlisberger will no doubt want more money than both Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo received earlier this offseason. Should the Steelers wind up winning another Super Bowl in 2013, Roethlisberger will expect to be paid more than Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who just signed a top deal, as well.

In the event that Roethlisberger were to suffer another serious injury this upcoming season, or in the event a long-term deal can\’t be able to be worked out, the Steelers have to be prepared and that is what I think led to them drafting Jones. Jones might never play a down of football over the course of his rookie contract, but he will have a few years of grooming just in case he has to.

  • Clint Martin

    A goal for any player should be to start this thought process makes teams better and pushes players to be great!

  • steeltown

    I love Charlie.. but his first assessment seems more likely (“they weren’t happy with what they had behind Ben and Bruce”) We’ve been to 3SB with Ben and the hope is we go again, obviously Ben provides the best opportunity for that. Its ridiculous to think that they’d draft a QB in the 4th Rd to replace Ben. If Landry turns out to be a stud, great! …Starter material, great! …We need the depth, maybe Ben gets seriously injured (again) one of these years, who knows… I dont see the big issue with drafting a QB (with upside) in the 4th Rd

    In the end, we carry 3QB’s in Pittsburgh, I sure as hell dont want John Parker Wilson as my #3 and Charlie will be 39yrs old this year.. and Leftwich is, well, Leftwich

  • When Peyton Manning went down, the Colts were an absolute mess because they failed to start working with young QBs to back up. I guess when you have to pay Franchise QBs 130 million dollar contracts, it leaves basically nothing left for the decent Vet back ups…So you draft them in the mid rounds that have some value, train them your way and it does not break your bank…I hope the Steelers never get caught with their pants down the way the Colts did with Manning…I Love the pick and think it makes perfect sense.

  • Charlie went out a winner by beating the Ravens, and that’s how I want to remember him. Hopefully he keeps his mouth shut from now on. The dude’s in complete denial, but I can’t imagine what it must be like for these athletes to walk away from the game.

  • steeltown

    Totally agree… and I keep thinking about the NY Giants as well, Eli has started EVERY game since 2005 and even they drafted a young QB this year, by the way also in the 4th Rd

  • Seems like the Patriots do it all the time. Personally, I think it is the better way to go when you have a Franchise QB. Plus if the Guy pans out, it gives you great trade equity when you do extend your franchise guy if he stays healthy.

  • steeltown


  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    I don’t think it is a coincidence that they targeted OLB, safety, and qb early in the draft when those 3 positions will eat up so much cap in 2014. It hopefully opens up the options next year for Woodley, Polamalu, and Roethlisberger to have better cap numbers. For Woodley and Polamalu, it gives some leverage to the Steelers to potentially cutting their pay.

    Aaron Rodgers contract model is hopefully the one that Roethlisberger follows since he has 2 years left on his deal. Rodgers had 2 years left on his and therefore only got 18+M/ year and not the 20+ that Flacco and Brees received. (It would be really nice if they could convince him to take a contract like Brady.)

  • CW

    Personally I see Jones as a potential good long term backup, who if he performs well during his rookie contract, might be trade bait the way Matt Cassel was trade bait for the Patriots.

    I actually think that was the idea behind drafting Dennis Dixon, take a guy that could develop into either a good long term backup or if he performed well trade bait.
    However Dixon never seemed to really develop into the sort of backup the Steelers could use long term while developing a chip on his shoulder about not getting a shot at the starting job.

  • disqus_5IWNhVT8DI

    Charlie pull my finger

  • NW86

    I agree more with the last point about being ready “in case a long term deal can’t be worked out”. I don’t know if you can say Ben is “due an extension” when his current deal runs through 2015 – I’m sure they will discuss it with him, but they don’t want to feel pressured into doing it if Ben is asking that gigantic money that some of these QB’s are getting.
    Do they want or expect Jones to replace Ben in a couple years as the starting QB? NO, of course not. They hope that Ben keeps playing well and takes a contract extension that the Steelers can swallow. But they have to start taking a look at younger guys as possibilities, just in case. And after 2 years, if Jones hasn’t impressed and Ben hasn’t been extended, they’ll know they need to draft another one.

  • Steelersguru

    I think that too.
    Charlie already doing coachspeak which is inflate players, maybe he’s only saying that because he’s been told Steelers migh hire him. QB coach position is occupied but there can always be positions for player development representatives.

  • TJimmy

    If Ben doesn’t lead them to superbowls and we have additional subpar seasons like last year, coupled with locker room problems produced by Ben challenging the OC, coaches and organization, Charlie could be right.

    In other words, any more seasons like we had last year and we’ll have a possible QB alternative in Landry Jones .

    Even the great Alan Faneca was let go, partly for that reason.

  • dennisdoubleday

    No way. Pay Roethlisberger and ride him at least 5 more years. The 20+ year gap from Bradshaw to Ben should be enough to convince anybody that, when you luck into a true franchise QB, you don’t question it.

  • SteelSpine

    Good point. Landry looks like Jimmy Clausen & I hope that similarity ends there. If Landry is truly better already than Batch & Leftwich to let those 2 QBs go (I mean not sign them), then we should know within 2 years if this guy will be the next Ben, otherwise the next Alex Van Pelt. I know Landry is to be only the 3rd QB but Ben will get his bones broken by gangpiled DLs in games this season as seems to happen every year, that’s why I say Landry has to be ready to be a #2 QB in regular season game 2 (behind Grad being the starter then).

  • Addison

    They’re going to have to spend every draft pick next year on the O-line if that happens. I can’t imagine anyone doing what Ben does with rag tagl line like that. Not Payton, not Brady not nobody. It won’t happen

  • CW

    Faneca wasn’t let go. The Jets “offered” more than the Steelers could afford for even an elite guard in free agency the way they have often outspent for other teams free agents. Then they cut him a couple years later and Faneca never made the amount that the Steelers offered him in the first place.

    Standard Jets tactic. Offer more than the current team can afford per year, then cut the player before paying anywhere near the total contract that the former teams was offering.

  • Stephen Dale

    I don’t think anybody has to worry about the steelers winning a title this year : too many weaknesses and too little talent. I would agree that another 15-20 M /yr contract for a mid-30’s QB is probably more than Pittsburgh wants to invest for the possible return on its money–just bad business…….It will be interesting to see if Gradkowski or L Jones has the talent to eventually replace Ben……

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I was thinking the same thing. I felt if Landry progressed over the next few years that it goes right into Ben needing a new contract. If Jones doesnt pan out BB is still good for a few more years but it was funny that I saw the same thing.

  • $19122620

    Ditto to the JPW comment!

  • Steelersguru

    Good contrast. Landry does not have good awareness of pockets & rushers, usually leaned back & heaved it up. Other teams didnt want to have to fix that. The contrast is Ben great awareness of passrushers. I hope Landry improves alot though. Go Steelers!

  • Bill Bob

    TJimmy you hit the nail on the head Jones is here because he is a good passer look at his record . We will be going to quick passes , read the defense get the ball out if Ben starts crap about his OC he is gone that kills the whole team when a QB says oh I just called plays we knew from last years offense. Hayley and Tomlin did not forget that.I like Ben but he has taken a beating and its showing It.

  • mlc43

    Wow…utterly amazed at some of the comments. Anyone that thinks that Landry will be ready to take over for Ben in a year or two are losing their minds. I thought the Landry pick was a good pick for one reason and one reason only…we now have better backups. That’s all they are. Ben has a habit of missing a few games a year. If he does that, we have two backups that can step in and (hopefully) accomplish more than usual. If it’s Landry, and he looks really good, that only means that we can now trade him to some QB needy team for a high draft pick.

  • PoKey21

    I really dont see the contract extensions going all that smoothly. Yes, I think we will get him extended eventually, but it could play out a lot of ways. Ben has been good about restructuring his deal to save the team cap space, playing through injuries, and being an overall leader of this football teams. His bravado though has led to him taking a lot of hits, and a lot of wear and tear on and off the field. I dont know how much respect that has gotten him with the Rooneys, but it account for something. More importantly his 3 SB appearances and 2 wins means a lot, and obviously his age works against him. So many factors has to be considered with this deal. I think we need to get him extended until at least 2017 at most 2019. Only question is how much? This all is under the consideration Ben can make it through healthy this year. He was looking good in Haleys new offense by not taking as money dumb hits. The one in KC was a tough but more often than not he wont be getting sandwiched like that much. The O-line should be more cohesive, Ben should have more knowledge of the offense, and hopefully a semi-respectable running game will mean even less hits this year and in the future years of his contract.