Stop yinzing: it’s time to support Landry Jones

The cat-calls, sneers and jeers toward Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback Landry Jones need to stop.


Never in my life have I seen a fan base boo one of their own, to the level of which Steelers Nation has treated Jones. With Ben Roethlisberger reportedly out for one or several games, fans took to social media to condemn Jones, before he’s even taken a snap.

It’s uncalled for: if you’re a fan of a team, you must support the team, through good times and bad.

This is obviously one of those bad times: the Steelers are dropping like flies, with multiple starters missing games due to injury. Mike Tomlin has instilled a “Standard is the Standard” approach to his roster; we’ve seen B.J. Finney, Chris Hubbard, Vince Williams, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jordan Dangerfield all step in this season, with mixed performances.

Sammie Coates is another player coming into his own, who also received some uncalled for boos on his home field, after a few drops against the Jets (which we later found out, may have been attributed to receiving stitches in his hand at halftime).

I understand the frustration, but I don’t understand the lack of support. The conduct is unbecoming of a fan base who prides themselves on being the best in the NFL. Yet, Steelers Nation is content on name calling and negative comments when discussing Pittsburgh’s backup quarterback.

We get it: Landry Jones is not Ben Roethlisberger.

Nor is he, or anyone else expected to be.

This isn’t the first time Steelers fans acted this way either. Last year, when Jones came into the Arizona game to replace an injured Michael Vick, Heinz Field more closely resembled that of Paul Brown Stadium; home of the Cincinnati Bengals. (A venue you’d expect a Steeler to receive a not-so-warm welcome, not Heinz Field!)

The reaction of fans on social media, less than 24 hours following a Steelers loss (admittedly, a bad one) was shocking. Steelers fans are dragging Landry’s name through the mud, calling for newly acquired 3rd stringer Zach Mettenberger to play on Sunday, resigning Michael Vick, or trading for Mark Sanchez.

If you know and love this team, you should understand why none of those ideas are conducive to winning football games.

Out of curiosity, I’m asking readers: how would you feel if you were booed? Would it help you perform better or worse?

As fans, we should be supporting our own, and encouraging the “Next Man Up” mentality, just as the team does.

For those clamoring for Mettenberger, Vick or Sanchez, do you remember how bad this team was with Vick as it’s starting quarterback? That’s because Vick was largely past his prime, but even if he wasn’t, he was unprepared, with little time to learn and get comfortable with Todd Haley’s system. (I won’t bother dignifying the Sanchez trade comments.)

Expecting a different result with anyone but Landry Jones would be repeating history.

Mettenberger is in a similar position to Vick, having no training camp or preseason with the team. In case you forgot, Vick was having a nightmare of a season, and a disastrous game that very day Jones saved the day. The Steelers offense couldn’t move the ball, as shown in the 7 possessions with Vick under center, which are as follows:

  • Punt
  • Punt
  • Punt
  • Punt
  • Field Goal
  • Punt
  • Field Goal

Those drives ultimately went next to nowhere, with only 1 of the 7 lasting for more than 5 plays (a 7 play, 31-yard drive culminating in a field goal). Worse, Vick did not complete a single pass on either of the two scoring drives (both of which started near midfield).

  • Vick completed only 3 of his 8 pass attempts for a total of 6 yards, before leaving that game with an injury.
  • 2 of those passes to Martavis Bryant were for 1 and 7 yards.
  • Another was for a negative 2 yards on a screen pass to Antonio Brown, his only completion to the the best WR in the league.
  • Vick also had the league’s best RB (Le’Veon Bell) along with Martavis Bryant and Heath Miller on the field with him, and failed to move the ball.

So what happened when the boo birds nearly booed Landry Jones out of Pittsburgh that day?

All of those players showed up, and got behind the inexperienced QB.

Jones orchestrated 4 scoring drives of the 5 possessions he lead: the final being a victory formation to end the game. Half of those possessions lead to a touchdown, and the other half were field goal efforts.

Consider that Jones never played a regular season snap in the NFL prior to that moment, while Vick had started 115 games in his career. Yet, Pittsburgh’s coaching staff had more confidence in Jones to throw the ball, and they’ve shown the same throughout the remainder of his spot duty.

Yes, someone is going to point out it was only one game, and Martavis Bryant had one heck of a play in that game, but Jones also ran a 13 play, 7:37 drive which gained 68 yards, and ran the clock in favor of time of possession for Pittsburgh.

Needless to say, Jones was a far more efficient QB than Vick, and ran the offense closer to how we’re accustomed to seeing it with Big Ben; which is how Landry became the backup this season, more so after his camp battle with Bruce Gradkowski ended with the latter on injured reserve.

Yet, fans are still upset with Big Ben’s backup, citing a bad preseason game: while Jones tossed 4 picks in a single game (against Philadelphia) he fared much better with actual starters and reserves in the game, rather than camp bodies. Against the Saints, Landry went 9-22 with 206 yards and TD, showing he has the chops to get the job done when he has playmakers surrounding him.

And don’t forget: Ben wasn’t all that great against the Eagles either

Did Landry throw interceptions during the regular season too?

Yes he did.

Of those interceptions he threw, 2 came in the game against Seattle. The first was an ill-advised fake field goal play, where the Seahawks special teams unit picked up on the obvious fact that Jones is never the holder on any kicking tries. The defense snuffed out the play, and picked off the poor throw to Jones’ only option, RT Alejandro Villaneuva, who was on the other side of the field.

That wouldn’t be the only time the coaching staff asked Landry to come in cold and start slinging: his second pick came after he entered the game with 1:57 remaining. With the Steelers trailing 39-30, Jones enters the game and throws an incompletion to Markus Wheaton, a short 34-yard gain to DeAngelo Williams, then goes for broke on a deep pass intended for Martavis Bryant, who was outfought for the ball, intercepted by Kam Chancellor (if you recall, Ben was publicly questioning Martavis’ toughness at this point in the season too).

Granted, Landry had spotty performances the rest of the year, but remember that Jones was mostly called upon to rescue the team in the fourth quarter, something he did against the Oakland Raiders, leading a game-winning field goal drive when Ben went out of the game again.

For a moment, imagine standing on the sidelines, for as long as 3 hours, and having your number called late, in order to win the game.

The expectations from Steelers Nation are lofty. No doubt we’re spoiled by a future Hall of Fame quarterback, who has made the impossible look commonplace. Looking around the NFL, the league is barely full of 32 capable starters, let alone flush with enough talent for teams to hoard backups.

In other words, the Steelers could be worse off than Jones.

That’s not to say I’d prefer Jones over Ben.

Who would?

However, that’s no reason to get on Landry’s back, without a game even being played. In fact, Landry might be the quarterback for a single game, as Ben could return following the bye.

I will be extremely disappointed if the crowd doesn’t support Jones from the opening kick this Sunday. I’d like to challenge fans to scream at a quarterback, but not Landry Jones.

One game, at home, against a hated opponent. That’s all we need from you Steelers Nation. There’s a perfect opportunity to make your voice heard, and get in the head of the opponent’s signal caller on Sunday: Tom Brady.

That expectation; reserving the boos for Brady, is what I would expect from the “best” fans in the world.

To do otherwise, is not “The Standard”.

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