The Pittsburgh Steelers fan base has made their stance on Landry Jones quite clear, and I’ll quote the movie “A League of Their Own” to describe it, “I’ve seen enough, to know I’ve seen too much.”
Landry Jones is a get-what-you-pay-for quarterback, and the Steelers will have him as the primary backup to Ben Roethlisberger for at least the next two seasons. Joshua Dobbs might be the backup of the future, if there is such a thing, but the No. 2 job is still Jones’ to lose.
What most fans might not want to know is how Jones is taking some of the younger quarterbacks under his wing. Anyone else have that uneasy feeling in their stomach after thinking about that? But let’s be honest, if Jones, or any other quarterback without the last name of Roethlisberger, has to play significant snaps in 2017 the season is a wash anyways.
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...While injury is the primary driver of that, practice reps and preseason game snaps are now better allocated to rookie Joshua Dobbs, whom the Steelers want to evaluate to figure out his future.
That's relegated Jones, now 28, to the role of savvy veteran mentor — a quick turnaround from where he was 24 months ago: still the youngster who was soaking up all he could from the older Roethlisberger and Gradkowski.
“He's been a great resource on the sideline,” Dobbs said of Jones, “coming with the tablet, going with the different looks, talking about his process when he comes to the sideline, his thought process on different plays and different looks, just his overall approach each day and for games… I have learned a lot from him.”
But as much as Jones is willing to take Dobbs under his wing, he's more eager to get back to playing. Monday, Jones said he intends to be cleared to play in Saturday's preseason Game No. 3, at home against the Indianapolis Colts.
The Steelers practice Wednesday and Thursday; Jones described his injury as “truly day-to-day.” Last week, he came out to practices in full pads and uniform but only handed off and did not throw. He was in uniform for the Steelers preseason win Sunday, but so were a handful of other injured players who did not get into the game,
“It's just the throwing motion (that's causing problems),” Jones said. “I hurt it throwing, so whenever that starts feeling good I will be back out there.”...
What was it Joey Porter said that surprised anyone? That the Steelers plan to start their first-round draft pick at outside linebacker and stick with him?
Logic 101: a) Steelers president Art Rooney II said early this year that his defense needs to put more pressure on the quarterback and b) They then drafted a pass-rushing outside linebacker in the first round. A plus B then equals C -- T.J. Watt starts at right outside linebacker until he either gets hurt or proves unproductive.
He may need a blow here and there, and that is when 39-year-old James Harrison can sub for a series. He didn’t need a break in the first preseason game when he played most of the defensive snaps plus appearances on the punt, punt return and kickoff teams.
“I was trying to take as many reps as possible and show them I’m in condition,’’ Watt said.
He’s 22 years old. He can handle it.
He’s not the first rookie the Steelers planned to start right away recently. Others include Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, Javon Hargrave and Artie Burns, although an injury to the latter delayed it.
...The reality is Conner won’t be taking over for Bell as the Steelers’ primary running back anytime soon. Bell, the NFL’s best back, will report before the regular season and probably will drop a buck-and-a-half and two touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns in the opener Sept. 10. The fans quickly will fall in love with him again.
The Steelers chose Conner in the third round in the April draft to be Bell’s backup. He showed plenty Sunday to make everyone think he will meet and beat that challenge the same way he beat cancer during his inspiration days at Pitt. He entered the game after the offense went three-and-out on the first two series and played every snap the rest of the way, 54 in all, including penalties. He finished with 20 carries for 98 yards and probably would have scored his first NFL touchdown if not for a delay-of-game penalty on third-and-1 at the Atlanta 1 midway through the fourth quarter. He had set up that scoring chance with 17- and 19-yard runs.
“It was awesome,” Conner said. “I felt right at home. My nerves were calm coming into the game. I was, like, ‘Man, I’ve been doing this for so long here.’ It was so comfortable.”
Conner came out of the same Heinz Field tunnel onto the same beautiful Heinz Field lawn and heard the same Heinz Field cheers that he did during his decorated Pitt career. Fans had to wait an extra week for his first Steelers carry because of a shoulder injury that kept him out of the first exhibition game. They roared when he picked up 3 yards on his first rush...
There was a brief flash of the old Martavis Bryant in the second quarter when he caught a 23-yard pass down the right sideline to set up a field goal, eliciting a big cheer from the fans at Heinz Field who were glad to see him back.
And there was a glimpse of a rusty Martavis Bryant when he ran a reverse, got hit by linebacker De’Vondre Campbell — “He was trying to knock the crap out of me,” Bryant said — and was stripped of the ball by linebacker LaRoy Reynolds.
Neither really seemed to matter, especially to his teammates and coaches. What was important was Bryant was back in his familiar spot in the Steelers lineup. And they hope he can stay there.
“It felt great, it felt real good to be back out there with my brothers,” Bryant said. “I got a lot of work to do, but the works going to get done.”
Playing his first game since the 2015 divisional playoff game in Denver, Bryant’s return certainly wasn’t celebrated for his statistics. He had just two catches for 20 yards, one carry for minus-1 yard and a fumble in the first half. He came out for the first series of the second half because he said “the coaches wanted me to go out for a series to get used to going back out after halftime,” but never played after that.