Steelers Trying To Get A Good Look At Landry Jones In Year Two

A year ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers certainly seemed perfectly content to give rookie quarterback Landry Jones a redshirt season on the 53-man roster with their new veteran backup in Bruce Gradkowski being brought in.

As fortune would have it, not even Gradkowski had to take a single snap the entire season, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was able to stay healthy for the entire season, never coming off the field and missing a play.

As a matter of fact, the only other player to take a snap from center was running back Le’Veon Bell for a small handful of Wildcat runs, during which Roethlisberger admittedly begrudgingly would flank out wide.

Only two passes were thrown for the Steelers by players other than Roethlisberger: one from Antonio Brown to Felix Jones, and another on a fake punt from Mat McBriar to David Paulson.

Obviously, the Steelers are going into the 2014 season with the plan once again of having Roethlisberger be the only quarterback to take the field, but as we all know, that tends not to be the norm in his 10-year career.

What they almost seem to be determining is who should come onto the field if Roethlisberger comes off.

Perhaps I shouldn’t go quite that far. There certainly isn’t enough evidence just yet to suggest that Jones is in a legitimate competition with Gradkowski for the backup quarterback position. But the team certainly seems intent on getting as many quality looks as possible at their second-year signal caller.

The coaching staff has frequently been giving Jones the second-team reps with the offense throughout the offseason. It began back in OTAs, and is continuing to be the case during training camp. He took a significant amount of second-team reps yesterday.

Of course, Jones would need many more reps than a veteran like Gradkowski. One of the appealing qualities of veteran backup quarterbacks is their ability to come off the bench or start a game without requiring much warm up and knowing how to run the offense in different situations, such as the hurry up.

It’s reasonable to assume that the Steelers are going to try to get a long, hard look at Jones during the preseason this year to see how far he’s come. He may take most of the snaps with the second-team offense, and will probably start the fourth preseason game.

He may not be given a serious opportunity to win the backup job over Gradkowski, short of lighting up the preseason (then again, he might). But the organization would certainly like to get a much needed status update on their investment.

If his development isn’t on a satisfactory pace, it’s certainly possible that the team could be back in the draft market for another quarterback prospect next year, for example.

Jones has had his ups and downs so far during training camp, an ebb and flow that could go from one play to the next. For a few plays in a row, he may show strong pocket presence and hit his throws, and on the next hold on to the ball too long for a sack, followed up by an interception.

But he’s still a young player that is learning his craft, which commands a little patience—at the team’s discretion. By this time next year, he could either be Roethlisberger’s backup or looking for a job.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • treeher

    Not a fan of Lan.

  • 20Stoney

    I’m not a fan of the PICK. I have to keep making myself separate that from the player. I definitely think we have to see him on the field after having a year in the system. Hopefully he turns out. If he doesn’t look much better this season I hope they have no issue cutting him and don’t keep him around trying to justify his draft location.

  • steeltown

    I think we’ll see an extensive look at Landry this preseason.

  • Nolrog

    I agree. Not a fan of the pick. There were much greater needs than a 3rd string QB they could have used that pick on.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I wonder if they are trying to give him a shot at the #2 spot or if they are trying to determine if he has come far enough to keep around.

  • Mike

    I think that they are giving him as much practice time as possible with the hope that he will improve. Gradkowski probably doesn’t need that much practice to be the #2 QB.

  • Dan

    They definately need to see if he’s good enough to keep around, but also if he’s ready to be a #2, theoretically you could save about a mil in cap space by cutting Gradkowski and hiring a cheaper #3.

  • Vincent Mcelroy

    It has to be a mental block of some sort! This kid was outstanding in Oklahoma!
    He was a Heisman candidate! Sometimes getting enough reps helps a lot in that area!

  • Andrew Grigsby

    Can’t get over what a wasted pick this was last year. Never will understand why they drafted Jones,what a waste of a roster spot. Maybe Kay from Cincinnati will give him a run for his roster spot.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Its not gonna happen with Grad. He is to good of a back up and the guys we have aren’t proven.


    Nope him n Warren need to go who would you rather have da beard n silverback or Warren n laundry




    Warren and laundry are a waste of a roster spot. It’s been said that the Steelers want three qb’s on the roster, if your down to starting your third stringer your pretty much f@cked. Why on God’s great earth can’t the back-up center longsnap….. gee I guess those extra couple yards are just too much for a pro center, again waste of a 53 man roster.