According to a recent tweet by Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Steelers apparently want to give rookie quarterback Landry Jones a “bulk of the playing time” in tomorrow’s preseason finale. In fact, Bouchette’s tweet mentioned that Mike Tomlin is “excited” about giving Jones the extra work so Pittsburgh’s head coach and his staff can continue to evaluate the young signal-caller.
I don’t blame the Steelers’ brass for their decision to play Jones extensively tomorrow. Pittsburgh needs their top two signal-callers as healthy as possible before they head into the regular season, and providing their third-string quarterback with a “bulk” of the snaps all but assures that Ben Roethlisberger and Bruce Gradkowski will enter Week 1 unharmed.
I should also add that any and all preseason experience that Jones can gain is a terrific thing for both the team and the rookie.
Unless Roethlisberger and Gradkowski are unable to play at the same time this fall, then Jones will not sniff the field during his first professional campaign. Heck, as long as the proven veterans are healthy, Jones might never be on the active game-day roster during his first two to three years in the league. With the current depth chart in mind, it is of the utmost importance that the rookie takes full advantage of every chance that he receives during preseason play.
Jones has struggled with his accuracy (45.3% completion rate) and pocket awareness through his first three preseason games, and there is still a long way to go in the rookie’s development. Nevertheless, Jones has shown some flashes here and there of what made him Oklahoma’s all-time passing leader. The one play that stood out to me in particular was the former Sooner’s nifty touchdown pass to Derek Moye against the Redskins in Week 2.
Tomorrow’s preseason finale could very well be the rookie’s last “game experience” until the 2014 preseason rolls around next August. Thus, it will be up to Jones to show some more improvement and shine in what will probably be his most extended audition of 2013.
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