The Pittsburgh Steelers seem set with Landry Jones to quarterback this team to victory against the Cleveland Browns Sunday at Heinz Field. Jones is 2-0 in relief duties this season, but 0-1 as a starter. His only start of his NFL career, and only loss, was a Week 7 game against the Kansas City Chiefs in Arrowhead Stadium. Jones might not have won that game for Pittsburgh, but he certainly didn't lose it either. Nonetheless, there is a recipe for success Jones can follow to give the Steelers their 6th win of the season against the Browns this Sunday.
The recipe isn't complicated, nor time consuming, if Jones is able to follow the simple steps. The first step in the recipe is to not turn the football over. After all, when the Steelers lose, they also tend to lose the turnover battle. Jones was a part of three turnovers in his first start against the Chiefs, two interceptions and a fumble, but only one of those was technically Jones' fault.
If Jones wants to claim his first win as a starter, keeping the ball in the hands of the black and gold, and not those hideous orange and brown uniforms, is paramount.
The next step is to spread the ball around. Everyone in the stadium on Sunday, and watching at home, knows the Steelers have the best wide receiver in the NFL in Antonio Brown on their roster. However, that doesn't mean Jones should lock in on No. 84 every time he drops back to pass. Ben Roethlisberger was able to do just that in their Week 9 victory over the Oakland Raiders, but Jones isn't Roethlisberger, and the Browns aren't the Raiders.
It isn't as if Jones doesn't have other weapons to his disposal. Martavis Bryant, Heath Miller, DeAngelo Williams out of the backfield and Markus Wheaton all make for a full compliment of offensive talent he has at his disposal this Sunday. Jones should take what the defense gives him, and not try to force the ball to any one individual player.
Next is to stay balanced. No one wants Landry Jones throwing 40+ passes Sunday, and a lot of this responsibility falls on the shoulders of Todd Haley, not just Jones. Still, getting a healthy dose of DeAngelo Williams on the ground is never a bad thing. The Browns are giving up 147 yards per game on the ground, and nothing would make fans at Heinz Field happier than to watch Williams run all over the Browns, killing the clock, extending drives and increasing the Steelers' chance of victory.
The final step in this recipe is for Jones not to over-think things. Jones knows the playbook well, not as well as Roethlisberger, but certainly is more adept than Mike Vick under center. Jones can't try to complicate the game more than it already is, with audibles and changes at the line of scrimmage.
Jones should go through the normal motions with pre-snap reads, calling out the correct protections and seeing what the defense is doing before the snap. Mike Tomlin insisted Jones is capable of running the no-huddle offense if necessary, but everyone would likely agree how they hope he doesn't have to run the no-huddle offense outside of a two-minute scenario.
That's it. If Jones can take these four easy-to-follow steps and put them into practice there is no reason the Steelers won't be 6-4 heading into the bye week and preparing for a huge second half of the season.