As we are less than two weeks away from the start of training camp, it’s become the time to start thinking about position battles that will be taking place. We all know who the starting QB is and we are surely all thankful for having one of the best in the business to lead the way. However, an extremely important position battle is for the right to back up Big Ben. In the event he gets hurt, who should the Steelers call upon?
They’ve left their options to two veterans they’ve had on the roster for the last 4 years, Bruce Gradkowski, who missed all of last season but has a decent amount of starting experience or Landry Jones who elevated himself to the number two job last season and garnered some success while starting a few games when called upon.
While Gradkowski does have the more accomplished career, he hasn’t played much at all since joining the Steelers a few years ago. He’s older than Jones and he’s coming off a season in which he was on IR and couldn’t even practice with the team. Sure, he’ll have training camp and the pre season to knock off the rust but does it make sense now to have him as the backup or does it make more sense to continue to develop Jones and maintain him as the number two for several more seasons?
If you haven’t guessed what I think just yet then let me spell it out for you, I believe the job should go to Jones. He played well enough to be the number two guy last season. He caught some flak from the fans for not living up to their standards but when Big Ben is who you’re being compared to, it’s hard to live up to those standards, no matter who you are. I think the fact that he’ still young, he played some significant snaps last year, got first team reps with guys like Antonio Brown and Markus Wheaton, to name a few; and had some success along the way, provides the right recipe for Jones being that guy this season.
Time will tell and both guys will play it out on the field. My suspicion is the Steelers expect the job to go to Gradkowski and I assume he feels that way too or he probably wouldn’t have signed on to come back this season but I think the job should and ultimately will go to Jones.
Mike Pelaia hosts the website Steel Nation Association http://www.steelnationassociation.com – Covering the Steelers and helping Children’s Hospital All Day Everyday. You can e-mail him at email@example.com.