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Breakdown Of Steelers QB Landry Jones Versus Panthers


By Alex Kozora

Taking another look at rookie QB Landry Jones and his performance vs the Carolina Panthers last Thursday.

First Drive

Completions/Attempts: 2/4

Under Center/Shotgun: 3/1

Play-by-Play

– 1st and 10, 12:03 1st. Playaction, Panthers rush four. Dig to Markus Wheaton that is well placed in between the zone but dropped by Wheaton. Roughing the passer negated the play.

– 1st and 10, 11:57. PA Boot Right although no real effort to sell the run action. Wheaton comes across the formation and atones for his drop by catching this pass in the flats for a 14 yard gain.

– 2nd and 14, 10:22. Playaction with pulling guard to fake Power O. Deep down the right sideline to Wheaton but tipped away by the safety. Pressure and Jones responds by climbing the pocket. Good! The base he throws off of. Bad!

LandryJones4

Doesn’t throw off correct foot.

– 2nd and 7, 8:29. Shotgun. Panthers rush four. Stares David Paulson down the whole way but hits him for a TD. Mentioned this in my game notes but correct ball placement on the pass. Throws to the inside shoulder where the LB can’t make a play on the ball.

SteelersPanthers3

Second Drive

Completions/Attempts: 1/3

Center/Shotgun: 2/1

Play-by-Play

– 1st and 10, 6:58 1st. PA. Rush four. Go route to Wheaton. CB, who was beat, able to knock it away. Like two weeks ago, Jones underthrows Wheaton. If the throw is money, it’s an easy touchdown.

– 2nd and 10, 6:52. PA boot right. Looking downfield, nothing apparently open. Good patience and checks it down to Paulson coming off his block/release in the flat.

– 3rd and 6, 6:09. Shotgun, rush four. Pressure, climbs the pocket and stays behind the LOS. I do understand looking for your checkdown when scrambling but he seems to lock onto LaRod Stephens-Howling, who has no separation from the LB, as soon as he starts to scramble. It’s good he didn’t force a throw but if your current read is covered, you have to move on. Or you won’t survive at this level.

Third Drive

Completions/Attempts: 1/1

Center/Shotgun: 0/1

Play-by-Play

– 3rd and 12, 2:46 1st. Shotgun, four man rush. Fake draw to LSH, bubble screen to Wheaton who winds up just shy of the first down.

Fourth Drive

Completions/Attempts: 1/3

Center/Shotgun: ½

Play-by-Play

– 1st and 10, 9:18 2nd. Five man rush. Five yard out to Wheaton that falls INC. Wheaton got flack for the “drop” but Jones is just as guilty. Throws the out way too late with the receiver being about two yards from the sidelines by the time the ball comes out. Forces Wheaton to slow and really have to concentrate on keeping his feet in bounds.

Timing of the whole play was off. A picture of where Wheaton was at when Jones threw the ball followed by a GIF of the whole play.

LandryJones5
Steelers Panthers Landry Jones

– 3rd and 5, 8:37. Shotgun, four man rush. Really nice play from Jones. Some pressure on a Panthers’ stunt. Jones turns, climbs and makes an accurate throw on the run to Moye down the seam who does the rest for a 32 yard gain.

– 3rd and 6, 6:46. Shotgun, four man rush. Looks left to first read but not there. Moment of happy feet but resets and looks to his checkdown Howling. That’s all well and good but went to the checkdown too quick. A three yard gain isn’t going to do you much good when you need six. Hindsight is 20/20 but Paulson is open to the left right in front of the sticks and the rookie quarterback never sees him. Pass  batted down at the LOS.

Fifth Drive

Completions/Attempts: 1/3

Center/Shotgun: 1/2

– 1st and 10, 4:34 2nd. Four man rush. Little PA fake but doesn’t sell it well. Slides to left to avoid slanting DE and resets his feet. Goes through his progressions and finds Moye on dig for a 23 yard gain.

Something I noticed in the other game I looked at him is his back foot leaving too early. Happens again here. Affects the weight transfer and just bad mechanically.

LandryJones6

– 1st and 10, 3:16. Shotgun, six man rush. Screen to Felix Jones. Pass maybe a bit wide but still catchable, falling off Jones’ fingertips.

– 3rd and 8, 2:20. Shotgun, six man rush. Flushed to the right and keeps eyes downfield. Throw on the run is behind Justin Brown, incomplete.

Sixth Drive

Completions/Attempts: 4/6

Center/Shotgun: 0/6

Play-by-Play

– 1st and 10, 1:34 2nd. Shotgun, 4 man rush. Accurate throw to Paulson on curl, running away from the LB in the middle zone. Hits him in stride and doesn’t let the diving LB make a play on it. The tight end hurdles his way to a first down.

– 1st and 10, 1:16. Shotgun, five man rush with free defender coming at the rookie. Misses wide on throw to Howling in the flats.

– 2nd and 10, 1:12. Shotgun, 5 man rush. Recognizes man coverage and with the No. 1 receiver to the closed side having an inside stem, tries to hit Howling on a wheel in that vacated area. Pass a little too far though and falls incomplete but a good read.

– 3rd and 10, 1:07. Shotgun, 5 man rush. Zone blitz with the DE dropping and LB, DB overloading to the right. Accurate throw on curl with good velocity to Michael Palmer for a first down.

– 1st and 10, :45. Shotgun, four man rush. Five yard drag to Justin Brown.

– 2nd and 3, :26. Shotgun, six man rush with free rusher up “A” gap. Able to throw off back foot and complete to Howling on a short dig but the back has to slow up to make the catch. Tough situation though so not going to blame Jones that much.

– 1st and Goal, :16. Shotgun, 7 man rush. Bubble screen to Wheaton. Complete but negated on Guy Whimper penalty.

– 1st and Goal, :09. Spike to stop the clock. Not counting it in my notes as an INC like the box score.

Seventh Drive

Completions/Attempts: 1/3

Center/Shotgun: 0/3

Play-by-Play

– 2nd and 5, 13:11 3rd. Shotgun, five man rush. Low snap from Kelvin Beachum. Go route to Wheaton who gets tangled in the legs of the CB. Looks like the throw would have been overthrown anyway.

But read coverage well, taking a shot downfield vs a single high look. And he didn’t stare down Wheaton, trying to look off the safety. Some positives on an incompletion.

But again, back foot leaves too early on his follow through. Let’s compare Landry Jones’ on this play to Ben Roethlisberger’s last week vs KC.

LandryJones7

LandryJones8

– 3rd and 5, 13:04. Shotgun, four man rush. Curl to Palmer complete for a first down. Good zip on the throw.

– 3rd and 4, 11:05. Shotgun, four man rush. Incomplete on out route to Palmer. Throw too far inside, lets the LB play the pocket of the receiver and break up the pass.

LandryJones9

Eighth Drive

Completions/Attempts: 1/2

Center/Shotgun: 1/1

Play-by-Play

– 1st and 10, 5”46 3rd. Screen to Jones. Free rusher, nice job by Jones to keep retreating back to wait for Jones to turn around. Complete. Takes a hard shot at the end, shoulder driven into the ground.

– 3rd and 7, 4:27. Shotgun, four man rush. Low snap. Strong throw to Wheaton on curl between three defenders. Pass a little high but only where Wheaton can get it and it bounces off his hands.

Ninth Drive

Completions/Attempts: 1/2

Center/Shotgun:  1/1

Play-by-Play

– 1st and 10, 4:10 3rd. Four man rush. About to throw curl to Jamie McCoy but sees MIKE about to undercut it and pulls back. Pressure in his face, flushed right, hits Jones on the checkdown for a medium gain. Heady play.

– 3rd and 2, 2:56. Shotgun, four man rush. Pressure from blindside which forces Jones right. Then the DT disengages and puts pressure right in Jones’ face. Tries to throw drag to Derek Moye but the throw is behind an intercepted by Josh Norman. Red zone interceptions gives coaches’ gray hair.

Tenth Drive

Completions/Attempts: 0/1

Center/Shotgun: 1/0

Play-by-Play

– 2nd and 9, :58 3rd. Lazily fakes PA. Four man rush. Crosses to Palmer. Just air mails it over him and picked off by the safety. Stacking bad plays. Another example of his back foot leaving early.

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Eleventh Drive

Completions/Attempts: 0/1

Center/Shotgun: 0/2

– 2nd and 6, 11:21 4th. Shotgun, four man rush. Curl to Nathan Overbay is dropped.

– 3rd and 6, 11:12. Shotgun. Four man rush with DTs cross stunting. Actually hit second read but by that time both Joe Long and Guy Whimper get beat and Jones is sandwiched.

Twelfth Drive

Completions/Attempts: 0/2

Center/Shotgun: 0/1

– 1st and 10, 5:56. Honestly, the camera missed all but the tail end of the play so I really don’t know what’s going on. Cuts back in at the very end with the pass being incomplete to Alvester Alexander.

– 3rd and 7, 5:09. Shotgun. Four man rush. Shows nice touch on wheel to Alexander but bounces off his hands.

Thirteenth Drive

Completions/Attempts: 3/4

Center/Shotgun: 3/1

Play-by-Play

– 1st and 10, 3:09 4th. Three step flat complete to Palmer. Ugly, awkward drop by Jones, obviously something he didn’t do a lot at Oklahoma. Second step way too big and can’t get his lower half under control by the time he needs to plant and throw.

Steelers Panthers Landry Jones

– 3rd and 2, 2:23. Five step, four man rush. Pressure caused by guess who…Guy Whimper. Crosser to Moye complete who gets some YAC.

Side note going back to Whimper. Just look at where his hands are on this play (RT).

LandryJones11

I’m sad.

– 1st and 10, 2:00. Pressure from the DT. Jones avoides, climbs, keeps eyes downfield, and complete to Palmer for an 11 yard gain.

– 1st and 10, 1:35. Shotgun, four man rush. Dig to Reggie Dunn who falls down and the ball is picked off. Not Jones fault.

Total/Conclusions

Completions/Attempts: 16/35

Center/Shotgun: 13/22

*The numbers may not/do not match up because of different circumstances with the way I counted things. The discrepancy is intentional.

On the good, I liked Jones’ ability to move within the pocket. Showed the ability to slide and climb and always knew where his checkdown was. And he shows some zip on short to intermediate throws (think Paulson TD).

I did like Jones going 4/6 on the two minute drill with a couple solid throws that resulted in three points. Conversely, not including that drive, on only two other drives did he complete more than one pass (3/13, 23%).

His footwork leaves a lot to be desired. Still working on even getting things like the three step drop down. His backfoot is coming off too early consistently and that’s hurting him on deeper throws. And when he’s forced to move in the pocket, he has trouble resetting his feet and his base is a bit too narrow when he does (another reason he isn’t generating enough drive on throws down the field).

The second INT is a dead giveaway he didn’t have the short-term memory needed to play QB. Not that he can’t improve on that but for this game, it was in the back of his mind and he stacked bad plays. After the second INT, things did get slightly better and he didn’t completely melt down. That’s a plus.

Like any rookie, getting the “little things” right is still something Jones has a lot of work to do on. He sells playaction as well as I could sell beachfront property in Pittsburgh.

I was watching a Gruden QB camp last week and he showed examples of Peyton Manning selling playaction so well that it became impossible to tell if he was actually handing it off. I’m not asking Jones to become Peyton Manning tomorrow. But that isn’t an issue of talent. It’s a matter of having pride in your craft. And forcing a LB or DB to freeze for an extra half second can be the difference between an incompletion or touchdown.

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  • Shannon Stephenson

    Alex sure does put a lot of work into this.

  • TJimmy

    Posts like this are why this is the best Steelers site on the internet. Landry has some work to do but I like the draft pick overall.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I’m not stressed about any of these issues at the moment. He is a rookie, and thankfully he now has a complete game tape to learn from. He will run scout for the rest of the year, and that is fine, but he needs to now work mostly on his position skills. I expect better things moving forward.

  • treeher

    Thanks for this analysis. I can understand some of his shortcomings because he’s so focused on executing the plays and reading the defenses. But I agree completely that ball handling technique and footwork needs to improve. Hopefully he will not get on the field this year and we’ll have next preseason to see if he’s improved.

  • steeltown

    The kid moved really well in the pocket and did make some nice check downs and a few nice throws. He obviously needs to work on technique, foot work and so forth but he showed some promise. I was pleasantly surprised with him after a below avg camp. As the game went on he showed he was rookie for sure, but it was awesome to watch them march down the field and score after our Defense allowed CAR to do so on the opening drive.

    Just so happy we are done with the Dixon and then Leftwich experiment

  • Alex Kozora

    And that is definitely part of it and a solid point you make. Obviously, things like selling PA is secondary to being able to get away from center quickly, make smart decisions, read coverages, etc. But still something he’ll have to improve on.

  • cencalsteeler

    Maybe Whimper was removing the grass from his opponents face mask for him?Or maybe he was waving to a fan in the end zone? After watching Whimper on the gifs, Jones’ mistakes are microscopic and manageable. Awesome job Alex!

  • Mike.H

    Judging from NFL highlights, I noticed one INT was due to WR slipping and second, the ball sailed… I hope his errors are fixable with a QB coach. Stay tuned. Go Steelers!

  • Gautama Om

    Keep in that OL he was playing behind was even worse than our starting OL which would have also given him trouble. He did OK given that he’s a rookie with terrible protection in front of him.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I’m not overly concerned with Whimper. He ended up highlighting just about every negative incident of Whimper’s last preseason game. He allowed two pressures, split a sack, and drew an illegal block in the back on an effort play on the move, which frankly I don’t mind. He actually had some nice moments as a run blocker, especially in the first half. I’m less concerned with technique than end results, however.

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