Week 17 was no typical week for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With a bye in the AFC Playoffs already clinched, decisions needed to be made. While there was still a chance to clinch the number one seed, it was slim. The New England Patriots would have to lose to the New York Jets in Foxborough. Also, victory seemed likely for Pittsburgh, facing the winless Cleveland Browns. Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers made the decision to rest some of Pittsburgh’s stars. With Ben Roethlisberger being one, Landry Jones got the start for Pittsburgh and got the job done.
Landry Jones: Serviceable, But Not The Future
There were many things Landry Jones did well in his start on Sunday. To start, he won. The offense scored 28 points, even without Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, Maurkice Pouncey, and David DeCastro. Another major success from Jones on Sunday was his accuracy. Jones completed 23 of 27 passes, showing his ability to get the ball in the hands of his weapons. Jones also displayed an ability to spread the ball around, finding eight different receivers. JuJu Smith-Schuster was his favorite target on the day, pulling in nine receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown.
Jones Gets The Job Done
What was observed from Landry Jones on Sunday mainly re-established reinforced was known about him. Since his rookie season, Jones has slowly progressed as Pittsburgh’s long-time backup. In his five years in Pittsburgh, Jones’ accuracy has increased, along with his knowledge of the offense. Last year in the same spot, Jones proved he could get the job done by defeating Cleveland. This year, he did the same thing. Jones has shown that he is a very serviceable backup quarterback for Pittsburgh who is able to manage games. However, when one looks to the future of the Steelers franchise, it is hard to see Jones at the helm.
Missing the Star Factor
Jones has not done anything to show he does not deserve a shot at being Pittsburgh’s quarterback. His progression has been slow, but steady. However, when you look at someone to be the future, Jones does not stand out. While Jones has displayed he is a good game manager, he has never shown he can be something more. This is problematic, as a team with a game managing quarterback can only go so far. In the present day NFL, a team needs a star and a leader at the helm to be a great team.
A major problem with Jones is his decision making skills, which often lead to turnovers. If there is one thing a game manager cannot afford to do, it is turn the ball over. Jones often does this when he tries to push the ball, as Ben Roethlisberger does in certain situations. This was displayed on Sunday, when Jones forced a ball into triple coverage that was intercepted. Star quarterbacks like Roethlisberger can get away with those mistakes every so often. The difference between good and great quarterbacks is the ability to make the big play while also managing the game.
Give Dobbs A Chance
Thus enters the argument for rookie quarterback Joshua Dobbs to see second team reps. Dobbs looked awful to say the least in his first preseason game. However, Dobbs saw a much faster progression, showing vast improvement by the final preseason game. The same issue with turnovers that Jones battles also plagues Dobbs.
However, Dobbs is extremely accurate with the deep ball, and can push it up field when making good decisions. Add in his mobility, and Dobbs has a better chance of becoming the quarterback of the future.
After five years, Pittsburgh needs to assess where Landry Jones is as an NFL quarterback. Regardless of what the future holds for Jones in Pittsburgh, the Steelers should be glad he got the job done. With the win, Pittsburgh finished the year 13-3 and 6-0 in the AFC North. Next week, Pittsburgh will eagerly watch the AFC Wildcard round, which will determine who will be making the trip to Pittsburgh for the Divisional round.