When you talk to Todd Haley, naturally the first thing that comes up is Landry Jones. Bob Labriola talked with him on Steelers’ Nation radio today, having Haley go back to Sunday about making the switch from Mike Vick to Jones. Haley described the first moments as a little chaotic and immediately involved one playcalling tweak.
“The call sheet is set up for a left-handed quarterback. There had to be a mental flipping of everything on the call sheet. Some things are one-way calls, what can we run, that became the issue almost immediately. What are we comfortbale running with the new quarterback in there?”
Jones had served as Vick’s backup the previous two weeks. Everyone knew Jones could be forced to enter the game on a moment’s notice. Haley discussed what he told Jones before the game and what his demeanor was like when stepping out onto the field the first time.
“You gotta be ready. Mentally, physically. And again, to Landry’s credit, he has done nothing but work his butt off preparing to be the guy if it came to that…you could see his eyes light up, and he was excited as soon as his number was called. There was no holding back. He was sprinting onto the field and ready to go…it speaks to his preparation that he was able to step in and execute.”
It’s no secret that before Sunday, he was one of the most criticized Steelers. He frequently turned the ball over in practice, and threw ten interceptions in training camp, but Haley rightfully pointed out some of it isn’t his fault. Rather, just the requirements of a scout team quarterback.
“We get to see Landry a bunch in practice when he’s running the card (offense). It’s an unlevel playing field when you watch that if you’re an outsider because a lot of times guys are circled who you have to throw it to as the quarterback. So you see him force some balls into situations versus the defense that again, from the outside, may not look very good. We’ve seen nothing but improvement from Landry.”
Jones finished 8/12 for 168 yards and two touchdowns in Sunday’s 25-13 win over the Arizona Cardinals. He’ll make his first career start this week versus the Kansas City Chiefs.