The end may be near for Michael Vick.
As the Steelers won and improved their record to 4-2 and held on to a solid second place in the AFC North, they found a new gunslinger in Landry Jones. The third year quarterback has given life to the Pittsburgh Steelers offense. His development may be the jolt in the arm that the Steelers need to show they mean business.
Landry’s services were called upon in the third quarter of the Steelers’ showdown against the Arizona Cardinals. Michael Vick first went out with what was called “dirt” in his eye. Then he went out permanently with a hamstring injury. Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin wasn’t clear on the severity of that injury.
With the Steelers playing from behind, Landry took command of the offense and led the Steelers to scores on three scoring drives. He ran the offense like Big Ben’s little brother. That’s what Steelers’ running back LeVeon Bell called him. Jones was so like Roethlisberger that Bell let his feelings be known via the Boston Herald.
The Steelers have already started to rally behind the No. 3 quarterback. His play inspired the team and impressed the Arizona Cardinals’ coaches. Head coach Bruce Arians wasn’t shy with his praise.
“He played very well for a young guy to come in in that situation,” Arians said. “He won the football game.”
The Steelers’ offense became confident and steady as soon as Landry broke the first huddle. He found open receivers, made quick decisions, and generally ran the team like Roethlisberger. His steadying influence was appreciated by the Heinz Field faithful.
There was an outside chance that Big Ben could start next week. The Steelers play the Kansas City Chiefs, without the services of Jamaal Charles. The Chiefs’ main back is out for the season with a torn ACL. With the Steelers facing the one-dimensional Chiefs, the option may be to start Landry and save Roethlisberger for the division game against the Bengals in Week 8.
The Steelers seem to have found their stride on defense at the right time. Landry is a qualified fill-in for Big Ben, and that could mean problems for the rest of the division. Michael Vick never really found his niche with the offense and struggled in each of his starts. If this game doesn’t signal the end of Vick’s career, it may show that he has a hard time running certain types of offenses.
Landry’s impressive 149.3 passer rating is enough to make Mike Tomlin and the other Steelers coaches consider giving him the nod next week. He accomplished his heroics against one of the better defensive units in the league. Vick led the Steelers to a victory over the Bolts on the road, but he avoided a lot of dropped interceptions. Any of those could have had the Steelers returning home at 3-3.
When long time Steelers linebacker James Harrison weighs in on your future as quarterback, that’s a vote of confidence. That’s exactly what Harrison did. He proclaimed Landry as the new starter.
Harrison doesn’t have the final say for the Steelers, but he probably spoke for a lot of the fans. Steeler Nation would have no problem dealing with more wins from Landry.
[Feature Photo by Jared Wickerham / Getty Images]