The Pittsburgh Steelers will have a tough hill to climb after getting the news that QB Ben Roethlisberger will miss time with a torn meniscus. While Ben is out the ball will be placed the hands of Landry Jones.
Jones has been in the situation before and the results were, let’s just say the Steelers couldn’t wait for Ben to return. There is no time-table for when Roethlisberger will return from his current injury but at the age of 34 his body no longer has the Wolverine quick healing powers he once had.
What does this all mean for the Steelers and their playoff hopes?
It could mean serious trouble depending on the length of his absence. The Steelers play the New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens and the Dallas Cowboys before a showdown with the winless Cleveland Browns. 3 of those 4 games would be tough matchups with Roethlisberger but with Landry behind center the Steelers season may have a taken a turn for the worst.
But, there is still hope.
Landry has to obey 3 rules if the team is to get out of this hole in one piece.
1. Do not try to be Roethlisberger: There is only one Big Ben and Landry must let it stay that way. He has one job to do and that is to manage the game. He has one of the best offenses at his disposal and he cannot afford to misuse any of these talented skill players. He doesn’t have to throw for 500 yards per game. He can throw short underneath passes and still be effective.
2. Stay away from the Antonio Brown crush.
There is not a QB in the NFL besides Matt Ryan that would love to have Brown lined up on their outside. But Landry must not do what many think he will. He must fight the urge to lock eyes with Brown and Brown only. If Landry can spread the ball around it will keep the defense honest, thus giving him an opportunity or two to connect with Brown for a big play when needed.
3. Hand the ball of as much as possible: What’s the point of having two of the best RB’s in the NFL if you do not use them? Le’Veon Bell is back and DeAngelo Williams more than held his own over the last two seasons when Bell was out. From the moment he takes his first snap against the Patriots Mike Tomlin should think run, run and then run some more. This is the best way for Landry to get in a groove and gain some confidence. If Bell and Williams can move the chains that will help Landry with play action which will case a shift in the defense, leaving an option to hit Brown deep.
The season is not over with the loss of Roethlisberger but if Landry falls prey to trying to be a savior they might as well start preparing for the Draft.