In 2012, Charlie Batch and Jerrod Johnson split halves in the preseaon finale against the Carolina Panthers. Against the same team on the same stage in 2013, head coach Mike Tomlin expects rookie quarterback Landry Jones to play most of the game.
"Excited about looking at Landry Jones for an extended period of time. We expect him to get the big bulk of the action offensively at the quarterback position.", Tomlin included during the opening statement of his press conference on Tuesday.
Jones has played like a mid-round rookie during training camp and preseason so far, but such struggles are to be expected as a collegiate system player attempts to make the transition to the professional level. If the team felt he was incapable of making the jump, they would not have drafted him; nor would they have released John Parker Wilson who was competing with Jones for the team's third quarterback spot.
Tomlin has remained positive through Jones' development, and he continues to see improvement on a daily basis. He views giving Jones the majority of the snaps against the Panthers as a good learning experience.
When asked about what the team would be looking for from Jones, Tomlin replied, "Just letting him play football and just seeing how he rides the wave associated with good plays and bad plays and series - things you don't get a chance to see often from young guys - and a real extended view of him and seeing how he responds to how the flow of the game goes."
"It's a great opportunity for him.", Tomlin added. "We're excited about it, and I'm sure he is as well."
Tomlin did not rule out playing starters during the Panthers game and has been pleased with the performance of Bruce Gradkowski so far; but knowing how often during Ben Roethlisberger's career the Steelers have been forced to rely on third-string quarterbacks, the team will do its due diligence to make sure the rookie is prepared.
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