Why the Pittsburgh Steelers are likely to stand behind Landry Jones

1:22 PM ET

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers left Heinz Field on Thursday night with what seems like a murky quarterback picture behind Ben Roethlisberger.

But Landry Jones‘ disastrous four-interception half likely won’t change the Steelers’ approach.

Here’s why:

The numbers don’t tell the full story: Notice how coach Mike Tomlin called the interceptions “unit plays” after the game. Jones was one of 11 Steelers executing the play.

That sounds cliché, but the phrasing was not a coincidence. Jones looked as though he was placing the ball where he wanted it for the most part. Sammie Coates said he had miscues on two routes that resulted in picks. Jones was making a basic three-step drop on a hitch route when he got hit on the last interception.

This isn’t to excuse Jones’ play — his decision-making must improve — but the context is important.

Jones wasn’t bad in training camp: Jones will miss throws that Roethlisberger makes. That’s just how it is. He won’t see the field like the veteran. But Thursday night wasn’t an extension of camp, where Jones was generally pretty good. He didn’t have those nightmarish turnover-prone practices like from 2015. He looks more in command.

That’s why the Steelers likely won’t overreact to the performance. To be sure, though, Jones’ stat line of 166-1-4 over six quarters must improve.

The free-agent QB market is brutal: The Steelers can dip their feet in the Tarvaris JacksonMike VickCharlie Whitehurst pool, but those guys don’t have much left.

The Steelers would likely prefer to develop Dustin Vaughan over adding a Matt Flynn or T.J. Yates for faux competition.



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