Landry Jones to Steelers: How Quarterback Fits with Pittsburgh
One of the major problems the Pittsburgh Steelers faced in 2012 was the short-term loss of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Backups Byron Leftwich and Charlie Batch struggled to keep the Steelers afloat, which was a direct cause of the team missing the playoffs.
Pittsburgh made an attempt to get some better talent behind Roethlisberger by acquiring Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones in the fourth round.
Landry Jones' role seems pretty well-defined at this point. He's going to be a backup and compete with Bruce Gradkowski for the second string job.
But there's a little more to it than that.
Jones should be coming into Pittsburgh with a chip on his shoulder. He was once considered one of the most promising young quarterbacks in college football, before suffering two straight seasons of inconsistent play. He'll need to prove his critics wrong.
The former Sooner comes to Pittsburgh in a great position to learn from Roethlisberger and hone is craft in an offense that isn't one of the most complicated in the league. Jones needs to gain back his confidence and he can do that in a low pressure situation with the Steelers.
Like Roethlisberger, Jones is a tall and thick pocket passer. But unlike Big Ben, Jones really struggles under duress in the pocket.
In terms of the scheme Pittsburgh employs under Todd Haley, quarterbacks have to be accurate and get the ball out quickly. Those are two things Jones does well. Jones gets the ball out of his hands quickly and can throw to any part of the field.
He's going to have to learn how to deal with pressure, but with the quick passing game, it's less of an issue in Pittsburgh than it would be elsewhere.
Like Shamarko Thomas, Jones won't come into the season as the Steelers starting quarterback. But if he wins the second string job, he could end up seeing time on the field.
With the injury history that Roethlisberger has and an offensive line that has a lot of moving parts, Jones is in a position where he may have to play immediately and fill in for at least a few games. That means he's got to be ready to play.
Honestly, I wouldn't be shocked if Jones ended up starting two to three games for the Steelers in 2013. He'll have to beat out Bruce Gradkowski for the backup job, however.
The Steelers apparently had Jones pretty high on their board because they wasted little time snagging him in the fourth. But with the talent that was still on the board (Jesse Williams), Pittsburgh certainly could have gone in a different direction.
I gave the Steelers a B- in my Grades/Analysis piece because I'm a little higher than most on Jones and I think he can develop into a good quarterback. But there were certainly other players on the board who made more sense.
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