We still have some time to kill before the Pittsburgh Steelers get back on the field, and their bye week happens to have fallen at a pretty appropriate time, so over the course of this week, we are going to bring you a sort of quick-hitter review of how the team has performed on a positional basis.
Ben Roethlisberger: For the most part, Ben Roethlisberger has played quite well, perhaps even ultimately MVP-contender quality, but, unfortunately, he is currently dealing with yet another injury. Roethlisberger led the league in touchdown passes at the time of his injury with 16, and was well on his way to break his own franchise record for a single season.
Even after missing a game, his 16 touchdown passes are still tied for the fifth-most in the NFL, three behind the lead. His ball security has been sporadic, having a couple of multiple-interception games under his belt, and six in total in six games played.
His quarterback rating is just a tick above 99, but there are actually currently seven quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts who have a higher rating. He has hit on 21 passing plays of 20 yards or more, plus six that have gone for at least 40, and is averaging 7.5 yards per pass attempt, though his yardage totals and per-play efficiency are down from last season, as is his accuracy.
Landry Jones: These columns go so much better when there is next to nothing to write about the backup quarterback position, but that has rarely been a luxury the Steelers can afford with Roethlisberger under center, as he has only started 16 games three times in his career, and remained healthy for only two of those years.
Landry Jones is Roethlisberger’s latest backup, and he just made his second career start in which he started and finished the game. It was an up and down performance, including a bad red-zone interception and a good red-zone touchdown toss.
Overall, he made a number of nice throws, and was accurate vertically, as well as, often, outside the numbers, but he has had issues with more intermediate throws, and doesn’t often lead his receivers well on targets over the middle
Zach Mettenberger: I, for one, hope I won’t be writing much more about the third-string quarterback this year. The Steelers claimed Zach Mettenberger because they needed a third quarterback, and he dressed last week as Jones’ backup. They used the bye week to get him a couple of reps, but that should not amount to anything.
Notes: With the defense that the Steelers have, as the quarterback position goes, so goes the team. Of course, that is often the case whenever a team has a franchise quarterback. When he has been on this season, Roethlisberger has been exceptional, but he has also looked off at times, continuing some post-injury trends from last season.
Jones looked like a quarterback who can at least run the offense and make a couple of throws, but I’m not ready to label him one of the better backups in the league. Ideally, he won’t get another opportunity to get me to change my mind.