On Tuesday, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked about how confident of a player quarterback Landry Jones is ahead of his third career start this coming Sunday against the New England Patriots. Wednesday morning, Jones exhibited that confidence when he addressed the entire team during a meeting.
“As he told us this morning, don’t panic,” said Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats, according to Teresa Varley of steelers.com.
Jones also indicated Wednesday morning that he’s not planning on playing too cautious Sunday against the Patriots.
“I think if you’re a backup in these types of situations, you can almost try to be too perfect and too careful,” said Jones. “One-time Coach (Mike) Tomlin said something along the lines of, ‘Gun fighters are going to get shot.’ For me, I have to go out there and cut it loose and play like that rather than trying to be too careful. Try to just go out there and take every check down that I can. Obviously, you have to play smart. But, you have to take what the defense gives you and try to be cautiously aggressive.”
Jones obviously faces a very daunting task on Sunday as the Patriots defense has played well over the course of the last four weeks and that has led to them allowing an average of just 11.5 points.
While Jones himself played well in relief of an injured Mike Vick in last year’s win over the Arizona Cardinals, he’s yet to put together a solid full-game performance and he’ll definitely need on Sunday at Heinz Field if the Steelers hope to upset the heavily favored Patriots at home.
“They’re a great, disciplined group,” said Jones. “That’s kind of how (Bill) Belichick coaches them. He’s going to have guys who are going to go out there and do what they’re asked to do. We have a big challenge in front of us.”
The Steelers would be wise to lean heavily on their running game Sunday in effort to not only take pressure off of Jones, but also to keep Patriots quarterback Tom Brady off the field as much as possible. That means getting the football to running back Le’Veon Bell early and often. So far this season, Bell has rushed for 263 yards on 48 carries in addition to 20 receptions for another 177 yards.
The Steelers defense and special team units also need to come ready to play Sunday as Jones and the rest of the offense will undoubtedly need a few short fields to work on during the game. The task of doing just that is as big as the one Jones faces Sunday on the offensive side of the football as the Steelers defense has registered just 8 sacks and 6 takeaways in their first 6 games.
While it’s certainly unlikely to happen, a Steelers win Sunday over the Patriots would be huge not only for the Steelers, but Jones as well as he’s scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season.
In case you’re curious, Bovada has some over/odd propositions listed now for Jones and they are: Total yards: 250, TD passes: 1.5 and INTs: 1.
In case you missed it, I have broken down all of Jones pass attempts so far during his career.