Backups Should Benefit From Extra Practice Reps With QB Ben Roethlisberger Sidelined
While it is certainly unfortunate that Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will be sidelined until the beginning of training camp following him undergoing a scope procedure on his right knee Wednesday, it presents a great opportunity for the other three quarterbacks currently on the roster to get more reps in practice over the course of the remaining offseason practices.
Bruce Gradkowski, who the Steelers signed as an unrestricted free agent early in the offseason, ran the first-team offense on Wednesday and that will continue Thursday when the Steelers wrap up their third OTA session of the 2013 season with a practice at Heinz Field. With this being his first year with the Steelers and offensive coordinator Todd Haley, it will allow Gradkowski the chance to work more on his timing with the starting wide receiver unit as opposed to the second and third-team group.
Behind Gradkowski on the quarterback depth chart currently sits John Parker Wilson, who was signed as a futures player by the Steelers back in January, as fourth-round draft pick Landry Jones has yet to overtake him for the No 3 spot with next week\’s mandatory mini camp swiftly approaching.
Jones, according to several of the beat reporters, hasn\’t looked great in practice since arriving in Pittsburgh, but there is still plenty of time for him to pass up Wilson on the depth chart between now and the end of training camp. Perhaps the extra reps he\’ll now get in practice with Roethlisberger sidelined will help in his development. Rest assured, it certainly can\’t hurt.
Jones remains the only Steelers unsigned draft pick at this point, but that should change over the course of the next week or two.