The Pittsburgh Steelers quickly re-signed backup quarterback Landry Jones to a new two- year contract right at the start of the new league year and it now appears he’ll continue to play behind starter Ben Roethlisberger for at least the 2017 season.
During a recent sit-down with Missi Matthews of steelers.com at the annual league meetings in Arizona, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked about Jones and what led to the decision to ultimately re-sign the former fourth-round draft pick.
“He has continually improved over his four years with us,” Tomlin said of Jones. “He’s answered the call and really answered the call in an above-the-line kind of manner. He’s been given an opportunity to perform and show growth and that growth has been consistent from our perspective.
“The opportunity that he had in Week 17 to deliver victory for us was a great experience for him, it was a great information gathering experience for us. We are extremely comfortable with the overall trajectory of his career, what he’s provided us, and we’re hopeful what he’s able to provide us moving forward.”
Jones, who completed 53 of his 86 pass attempts last season for 558 yards and four touchdowns, started two games with his second one being the Steelers season finale against the Cleveland Browns. In that game, Jones engineered nine-play, 75-yard game-winning drive in overtime that culminated with him throwing a 26-yard walk-off touchdown pass to wide receiver Cobi Hamilton.
Jones first start of the season in Week 7 against the New England Patriots in place of an injured Roethlisberger wasn’t as memorable, however, as the Oklahoma product only managed to get the Steelers offense into the end zone just once in a 27-16 home loss. While Jones did throw for 281 yards and a score in that game, he also threw an early interception in the Patriots end zone after the Steelers defense had forced a turnover.
Even though Tomlin praised Jones’ growth in his most recent interview, the Steelers are currently giving ever indication that they will draft another quarterback this year. If that ultimately happens, odds are good that Jones will have to show even more growth throughout the 2017 season in order to retain the backup quarterback spot.
As usual, we can only hope that Jones is forced to show that growth during practices or in mop-up action during the regular season as a result of the Steelers leading big on the scoreboard.