Landry Jones Keeps Improving: Will Make The Final Roster

Not only did I defend Landry Jones in an article written here a couple of weeks ago, I’m now writing my second such article, defending a player I once felt should’ve been cut from the team.

Call me crazy, but I feel a lot (A LOT) of the heat placed on Landry is unfounded and undeserved. It’s as if some fans expect Jones to be Big Ben. That expectation is unfair, as they are two different styles of players, much how Michael Vick is not the same player Ben Roethlisberger is either! I also feel a lot of the opinions stem from Landry’s first couple preseasons, where he was indeed abysmal.

That player has seemingly vanished.

This preseason, Jones has shown progress from a player who once looked mightily lost at the NFL level of playing quarterback, to one who is improving each week. It has been two weeks since I wrote my defense of Jones, and since then, with two additional games, he’s done quite well for himself.

While I’m still ecstatic the team signed Vick as insurance for Ben, I still feel Jones has potential and will make the 53-man final roster. Without sounding like a broken record, you can read my thoughts about Landry’s first 2 preseason games and compare with the rest here: in short, receivers dropped passes and he limited his mistakes. Among those “mistakes” were tipped/dropped passes: one by Jesse James which was statistically ruled an interception.

Since then, Jones volume of passes has gone down, due to Bruce Gradkowski and Michael Vick getting playing time. Drops by the wideouts are still an issue, as is the occasional overthrow, but as the games progress, Jones completion rate has too, with 52.6% and 58.3% against the Packers and Bills respectively. This has also helped number 3’s quarterback rating, which has soared to 96.8 and 105.2 in those 2 weeks as well, with 3 of his 4 preseason touchdowns also coming in these latter two games.

By comparison, New England’s Jimmy Garoppolo has posted ratings of 65.8, 98.1, and 116.3 while running with the Patriot’s first team in anticipation of the quarterback starting in place of Tom Brady. Would Jones’ numbers be even better with the Pittsburgh starters?

Simply put, Landry Jones is delivering. He lead a game-winning drive against the Packers a week earlier, and while the offense had stalled against Buffalo this past Saturday, Jones had in fact answered a Buffalo score with a two back-to-back decisive throws. On a 3rd-and-8 in the 2nd quarter, Jones rifled a pass to WR Shakim Phillips for a 16 yard gain and a first down. On the very next play, Jones connected with the seemingly uncoverable Martavis Bryant for a 39 yard touchdown.

Jones’ 3rd pass in this game would be a 2-point conversion to Sammie Coates, yet another player Jones was “accused” of overthrowing weeks earlier. While you cannot expect a quarterback to complete every single pass, I feel Jones is looking much sharper in the pocket. He is still the victim of easy drops (such as Josh Harris‘ dropped screen in the same quarter.) Another pass in the 3rd quarter was tipped at the line of scrimmage by a Bills defensive lineman. Other incomplete passes were due to good coverage.

Without beating a dead horse, it appears Landry Jones is doing everything that is asked of him, while minimizing mistakes. Drops, tips and otherwise good coverage are all components of the game that even Ben Roethlisberger must handle on a game-to-game basis. While I still feel there’s a lot of room for growth with the often maligned QB, I feel he has made great strides to justify his spot as the 3rd quarterback, and position on the final 53-man regular season roster.

3 responses to “Landry Jones Keeps Improving: Will Make The Final Roster”

  1. Scot Hickerson says:

    Joe thank you for the article it was at least fair. I am A long time Steelers fan and a hometown fan Landry Jones from New Mexico. I defend them a lot I feel like he has been treated poorly and gotten a raw deal from Pittsburgh fans and in the NFL. I think Landry is going to be Aaron Rodgers 2.0. If you follow Steelers depot, they published training camp stats from 11 on 11. Landry completed 65% of 235 throws against and with the starters and second teamers as well throwing 30 touchdowns. Ben completed 69% and 39 touchdowns but only threw to the starters. Last night Michael Vick showed how bad the backup line is for the Steelers. As the third guy Landry has been really limited by whom he has played with in the preseason. Landry is showing that he has adjusted to the NFL and can make it. It infuriated me to no end to hear people talk about how that he was and couldn’t even throw the ball. What people forgot was he wasn’t just any average quarterback in college. Landry Jones was all time NCAA in attempts and completions he was ranked third in yards and 5th in touchdowns. Plus his all time big 12 Records which I think he has three or four. There were many many first round QB drafted out of the big 12. Oklahoma fans we’re spoiled and expected him to deliver an undefeated season and national championship and Heisman Trophy. The team fell short while he was there because their defense sucked. But Landry got the blame and everybody talked about how bad he was and that just carried over. You don’t go from completing 63% of 2183 passes to being horrible and not being able to even throw. Landry had 4 4000 yard years in a row. He is going to be a franchise quarterback in the NFL. Hack last night he completed 9 of 11 149 yards all of which came in the fourth quarter with the crappy line and throwing two guys who aren’t going to make the team. You should have led them to three scoring drives but they could not convert a first and goal from the 1. Sports guys R going to lose credibility by going against the obvious. Thanks for being fair.

    • Joe Kuzma says:

      Great insight Scot. I definitely saw enough from Landry to merit another year on the roster. I also believe, if we were to let him go, he would be snapped up by another NFL team quickly. This is a QB driven league and there are many QB poor teams that might benefit from picking Jones up.

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