Even though Pittsburgh Steelers starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is doing everything in his power this week in practice to prove that he’s ready to return to action this coming Sunday, the team is spending a lot of time readying backup Landry Jones for what could be his first career start. Additionally, undrafted free agent practice squad quarterback/wide receiver Tyler Murphy is being prepared to possibly be Jones’s backup.
“We are getting him reps,” offensive coordinator Todd Haley said of Murphy during his Thursday session with the local media. “Again, we don’t know what the scenario is going to be. That’s where a guy like him is very valuable. He had quarterback experience in college. He also got snaps with us in the preseason and in training camp. Those are valuable guys. The more you can do. He has proved positive in that.”
Murphy, who saw very limited snaps during the preseason at the quarterback position, started the regular season on the Steelers 53-man roster as a wide receiver. While his offensive snaps in the team’s first two regular-season games were also few, he did manage to catch one pass for 16 yards late in the opening loss to the New England Patriots. When running back Le’Veon Bell was reinstated to the roster at the start of Week 3 after serving his two-game suspension, Murphy was then jettisoned to the team’s practice squad.
Haley talked on Thursday about what has gone into getting Murphy ready to potentially be the Steelers No. 2 quarterback this week against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“Extra meeting time. He sits in on some meetings that he normally wouldn’t when he is preparing to be a receiver during the week,” Haley said. “He spends more time with Coach [Randy] Fichtner. He is getting reps on the field where he is taking snaps and making huddle calls. He is a smart guy. Again, he’s a valuable guy because of that. Though he’s been doing nothing but practicing receiver here over the last month-plus, he has transitioned right back to quarterback, which involves a lot.”
During his final year at Boston College, Murphy was 131-of-230 passing for 1,623 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He also ran a staggering 181 times for 1,184 yards and 11 touchdowns.
During the preseason with the Steelers, Murphy didn’t attempt a single pass as he was relegated to running the read-option that resulted in two carries for him for 2 yards. If you followed our training camp reports, you know that Murphy’s reps at the quarterback position were also very limited as the team spent most of their time at Latrobe working on converting him to a wide receiver.
As far as Murphy’s status goes for this coming Sunday, that will be made evident sometime on Saturday. If promoted back to the 53-man roster by 4 p.m. EST, you can count on him being the backup to Jones against the Chiefs.