Sooner or later, Ben Roethlisberger is going to have to hang up his cleats and step down as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting quarterback. When that time comes, it’s expected that rookie Landry Jones will inherit the role.
Until that time comes, though, Jones will be tasked with proving that he can be a starting-caliber quarterback at the next level.
Jones’ collegiate career was characterized by inconsistency. At times, the four-year starter for Oklahoma would look like a first-round talent. The next week, Jones would play like a second-stringer with little grasp on how to be a quality quarterback. It’s not exactly promising for a passer being groomed to take over as the Steelers’ starter.
Throughout his time as the starter in the Sooners’ spread offense, Jones completed 65 percent of his passes for 16,646 yards, 123 touchdowns and 52 interceptions. Although he has the arm to complete all of the NFL throws, his lack of confidence and cool in the pocket is a major concern. Before he sees any significant snaps with the Steelers, Jones must prove that he can handle the pressure of an NFL pocket.
In the meantime, the 6’4’’, 225-pound Jones will likely slide in as the Steelers’ No. 3 quarterback behind veteran Bruce Gradkowski. Although Gradkowski is a career backup and journeyman, his experience in the league should be enough to hold off the raw rookie until Jones polishes his performance.
Jones needs to take considerable strides during training camp if he’s going to have a future with the Steelers. The physical tools are there, but the mental aspect of the position needs some serious work if he’s going to take over for Roethlisberger in the not-so-distance future.