If there was a ‘winner’ among the quarterbacks in last night’s game for the Pittsburgh Steelers, I would be likely to award it to Landry Jones. The two other quarterbacks who participated in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles had their moments, but neither showed the poise nor consistency that one would look for in a backup quarterback.
It’s still a long way to go, of course, but neither Joshua Dobbs nor Mason Rudolph showed last night that they are on the verge of establishing themselves as legitimate NFL backup quarterbacks. In other words, it was a good day for Jones, the Steelers’ backup quarterback.
The sixth-year veteran did not play a lot in the game, seeing three short drives in which he threw a total of a whopping four passes, but one of those four was a 71-yard deep shot to JuJu Smith-Schuster, on which the second-year receiver high-pointed the football over the cornerback and took off into the end zone.
For Dobbs, his night was highlighted by one very nice pass for a touchdown to rookie Damoun Patterson for 29 yards. He also had an 18-yard run on a keeper, but other than that, it was a quite ordinary affair that included some questionable decision-making and an interception that was produced by his lateness on the throw.
The rookie Rudolph completed seven of 12 passes for 101 yards and did not turn the ball over, but he also failed to get it into the end zone despite having a full half to work with. Much of his yardage also came courtesy of screen passes and jump balls, including one from his Oklahoma State teammate, James Washington.
Even Jones had just the one play to his credit on the night, but I think anybody who was writing Jones off as destined for a new location in 2018 should take note. Dobbs has not taken the second-year leap that was expected, or at least has not exhibited it yet. Rudolph still has a long way to go.
When the Steelers open the regular season, it’s still very likely it will be Jones dressing to be Ben Roethlisberger’s backup on gameday. At this point in his career, he doesn’t even need much work in the preseason. He knows the offense, and he knows how to play.
This is really about seeing what the other two quarterbacks have and whether or not they have enough to make Jones expendable. Through one fourth of the preseason, so far, the indication is that Jones’ services will still be required for the Steelers for another year, but we’ll see where the next three games take us.