Pittsburgh Steelers third-string quarterback Landry Jones was given a golden opportunity Saturday night to show how much he’s developed since his rookie season, but the Oklahoma product fumbled away the chance in the second preseason game of 2014 against the Buffalo Bills.
Jones, who was drafted by the Steelers in the fourth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, followed starter Ben Roethlisberger into the game with 5:34 left in the first half and promptly threw an interception on his first pass attempt. On the play, Jones, who was playing behind the Steelers starting offensive line, forced pass intended for Lance Moore into double coverage and it was easily picked off by Bills cornerback Nickell Robey.
Two possessions later, Jones fumbled while being sacked on a first down from the Bills 19-yard-line and that was it for him for the night. He finished the game with just two completions on five attempts and was sacked twice to go along with his two turnovers.
In the five preseason games that he has played in so far during his short career, Jones is 43-of-92 passing with two touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s been sacked five times and fumbled three times, losing one of them.
Being as Jones has zero chance at being the backup to Roethlisberger in 2014, you have to wonder at this point just how safe his roster spot is this year. The Steelers might need an extra roster spot if long snapper Greg Warren isn’t healthy for the season opener and the way Jones has played so far, it’s hard to imagine another team wanting to claim him off waivers in a few more weeks.
Bad play and all, Jones does have history on his side, however, as the Steelers have made a habit over the years out of carrying three quarterbacks on their 53 man roster. In addition, they also have a fourth-round draft pick invested in Jones.
The selection of Jones last year was highly criticized by a good portion of the fan base and with two preseason games left on the 2014 schedule and we’re done seeing the young quarterback play again for quite a while, that criticism continues to rightly grow. Jones is sure to get more playing time in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers and he might very well be playing for his right to stick on the roster in that game.