There will be a passing of a torch, but not the torch when the 2017 NFL season kicks off for the Steelers against Cleveland, Sept. 10.
Now hold your horses boys and girls. I am in no way minimizing or trivializing the final preseason “skirmish” between the Steelers and Panthers, Aug. 31 in Charlotte. But…
There may be bigger fish to fry with the Steelers as they prepare to open the regular season. There are issues at the backup quarterback position, and a few discrepancies as far as the Steelers’ defensive backfield is concerned, but one thing is clear; If the Steelers’ future NFL Hall-of-Fame quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is injured for any length of time, there will be a huge problem. Let’s begin with the ordained No. 2 QB, Landry Jones. There were a few talking heads promoting that Jones “competed” and “improved” in the Aug. 26 game against the Colts. There are a few barrels filled with yada, yada, yada regarding having an experienced backup signal caller behind Big Ben. Jones was the second of two fourth-round picks that the Steelers had in 2013. He was inactive for all 16 games that year.
In 2014, Jones was also inactive for the entire season including the Steelers’ one playoff game. Jones had excellent collegiate stats but that skillset has not evolved into his NFL performances, well, maybe with the exception of a flash here and a spark there. Regardless of his recent abdominal injury, he should have dissected an Indianapolis front seven and secondary that was mostly comprised of second stringers. The Steelers should not have lost by four measly points. Jones has had a four-year audition. He’s had many opportunities to stand in for Roethlisberger but the majority of the time, Jones did not stand out. The 2017 preseason should be the final “steel” curtain call for Landry Jones. It is time for Jones to get his last visit from the “Turk” to demand that he turn in his Pittsburgh Steelers playbook. The Steelers must now begin preparing and grooming two hungry rookie quarterbacks, Joshua Dobbs, the former quarterback for the Tennessee Volunteers, and Bart Houston from the University of Wisconsin to be the two QBs backing up Roethlisberger.