Steelers Film Room: Landry Jones And RPOs

Yesterday, we examined how limited Mike Vick was in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offense. I don’t want to bash him again – I think everyone has thoroughly gotten their anger out in the comments – but want to highlight one of the biggest differences between he and Jones. Jones familiarty, comfort, and being a more cerebral quarterback allowed him to get the Steelers’ rushing attack out of bad situations. There’s a perfect example of that Sunday. Antonio Brown’s 23 yard catch in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game.

We don’t even have to take an educated guess at the situation this time. Brown confirmed it in a post-game interview, stating it was a called run that Jones checked out of.

“That was a run play. He looked over there, seen I was one-on-one and he changed the play so we could have a positive one,” he told reporters.

So let’s look at the play.

11 personnel with Heath Miller displaced from the core of the formation in a 3×1 set.


It’s a common RPO play we’ve seen from Todd Haley before. To the trips side, we get a swing/screen combo, usually where the football goes on any throw.

Here’s an example of it from last year.



And what we’re going to get on Sunday.


For this called run, the problem is obvious. With Miller displaced, there are only five blockers versus a six man box. It’s going to leave the backside defender, in this case #44 Markus Golden, free to crash and get Le’Veon Bell from behind.


It’s a play you can’t run. One you have to check out of. And Jones has the football IQ to know it.

In the interview, Brown spoke to Jones giving the receiver a signal that the ball was going to him, isolated to the backside. If you’re familiar with the site, you’re probably already aware of what the signal is.

Jones grabs his facemask, a subtle alert to his receiver the ball is coming his way. It’s something we’ve noticed for Haley’s entire tenure. This is us pointing it out back in 2013.




Then it just becomes about the execution. Beautiful back shoulder throw by Jones to Brown against Patrick Peterson, where only his receiver can make the grab.


It’s a little bit of everything from Jones in one play. Football IQ, strong, quick communication, a quick release, and a money throw down the field. That’s a lot of pieces coming together in three seconds. A lot harder than it looks.

It’s, as Brown states in the interview, a quarterback being able to see a negative outcome and turn it into a positive one. Vick simply would not check out of bad box counts, leading Bell and company to get swallowed up in the backfield time and time again.

Who knows what will happen to Jones this week. There is tape on him and the expectation he is going to be the starter. The Kansas City Chiefs will be gameplanning for him, something the Arizona Cardinals didn’t do. But when you see Jones make plays like this, there is reason to believe he can carry his stellar play over into Sunday.


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