The Pittsburgh Steelers are rumored to be making a change at quarterback, with third-year player Landry Jones likely surpassing Michael Vick as the team’s stand-in until Ben Roethlisberger is healthy enough to take the field again.
The Steelers turned to Jones on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals after Michael Vick’s ineffective play and apparent hamstring injury, and Jones responded by going 8 for 12 for 168 yards and two touchdowns, including an 88-yard connection to Martavis Bryant with less than two minutes remaining that sealed the win.
— USA TODAY NFL team (@usatoday_nfl) October 18, 2015
The game marked the first time that Landry Jones threw a pass in the NFL, and afterward he expressed his excitement about the experience. “I just can’t believe I got in the game,” Jones said (via ESPN). “I’m still kind of reeling from it.”
8/12 168 yards 2 TDs 149.3 passer rating Well okay, Landry Jones. pic.twitter.com/tJTk1baGus
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) October 18, 2015
There are now rumors that the Pittsburgh Steelers could turn to Landry Jones on a full-time basis until Roethlisberger has recovered from his knee injury. Michael Vick had struggled to get the Steelers’ offense humming, and Jones already looked comfortable and capable of keeping the normally high-powered offense moving at full gear.
There had already been rumors that the Steelers may have been hurrying Roethlisberger back to the field due to Vick’s shaky play. Roethlisberger injured his knee in a September 27 win over the St. Louis Rams, with an MCL sprain and bone bruise that was expected to keep him out for several weeks.
Vick struggled in relief of Roethlisberger, throwing just 227 yards through his first two games and just six yards on eight attempts on Sunday.
There also appears to be tension rising in the Steelers locker room, with wide receiver Antonio Bryant saying this week that he is frustrated with the offense under Vick.
“I didn’t think I got the ball enough,” he said after last week’s game, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Brown also called out Vick, saying he wasn’t taking enough chances in the offense.
“Mike Vick’s out there and I think he’s playing conservative to make sure we get the win. He’s not going to take too many shots,” Brown said. “As long as we win. I want to get the ball and help the team. Some things are out of my control. I’m still up there on that chart.”
After Sunday’s win, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin acknowledged that it has been difficult for Brown the past few weeks. Brown has a great rapport with Roethlisberger, and the drop-off has been frustrating for the receiver, Tomlin noted.
But, the team already appears much more comfortable with Landry Jones.
“Landry was like Ben’s little brother out there,” Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell said. “He was out there making checks and everything and it brought us back like ‘Dang, Landry really got this.’ After we scored the first touchdown, it was like a confidence booster.”
When asked if he might have a new starting quarterback, Mike Tomlin didn’t give a direct answer but did acknowledge that the team “has some options.”
The win was an important one for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who at 4-2 remain two games behind the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC North. The Steelers have also kept pace atop the wild card race, and are in the thick of the playoff picture despite losing their Pro Bowl quarterback.
The rumors regarding the Pittsburgh Steelers moving Landry Jones into the starting role may not end up amounting to much. Roethlisberger was reportedly close to being able to play this week, and could end up returning next week.
[Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images]