A legion of Pittsburgh Steelers are already dreading the first start of the 2016 season by quarterback Landry Jones. After all, he did throw one pass away last week under pressure. And he threw four interceptions in a half during the preseason. So it goes without saying that he could not possibly effectively run the offense today.
Of course, as a quarterback who gets a full slate of first-team reps, working with the players that he is actually going to throw the ball to on Sunday, perhaps it is not out of the realm of possibility that Jones plays a competent game that keeps the Steelers within striking distance on the scoreboard. While he is technically 0-1 in his one start that he finished, he did have two relief appearances in which he led the team to game-winning drives.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that it may well be that Jones is actually not a terrible quarterback, and that if he has the help of his supporting cast securing the pass protection and running the ball well and making the important catches, then perhaps the Steelers can actually accomplish something today that seemingly nobody is allowing for—that is, provided that the defense is able to make that a possibility.
On that note, the defense has not allowed an opponent to score even 20 points in any of their four victories, and a good percentage of that scoring against them came in the fourth quarter, often while the result was already in hand.
In their two losses, however, they have allowed at least 30 points, while the offense has averaged nine points per game—15 points last week, and three points in the previous loss. If the defense can hold the Patriots to, say, a score total in the low 20s, then a win should be feasible.
Because Landry Jones is, or should be, capable of running this offense and getting some point up on the board. He has the knowledge of the offense. He has the quality of the supporting cast. And he has the arm strength to attack a defense at all three levels if he picks his opportunities wisely.
Part of the responsibility, of course, also falls obviously on offensive coordinator Todd Haley, making sure that he puts his quarterback in the best position for him to succeed, because when he is in a position to succeed, then the offense is in a position to succeed.
That is why this past week of practice is so valuable, and is not something that we have been able to see in any of Jones’ appearance since this season, since he has not been put in a position in which he will have to prepare as a starter until now this year, as all as all of the first-team reps in practice that come along with it.