Having a good backup quarterback is surprisingly more important than it may seem. The Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled to find a suitable back up recently, and should definitely invest in one.
Ben Roethlisberger is one of the toughest quarterbacks in the league. He’s been bruised, beat up, and torn apart by his opponents over his spectacular career. As tough as he is, the man isn’t invincible, and has missed considerable time due to injuries, especially last year.
Age is the biggest enemy of any football player. For football players, the days are numbered, and it all goes by so quickly. Any day, an injury can derail a career, and father time has a knack of ending careers at unexpected times.
Roethlisberger is 34 years old. While he still seems to have plenty of gas left in the tank, he could be faced with an injury at any moment, and there’s no knowing how severe it could be. The Steelers must invest something in securing a reliable backup who can run the offense when Ben is unavailable.
The Steelers attempted to do this by drafting Landry Jones with the 115th pick of the 2013 draft. Many believed he was the answer, and that he would even take the helm in Pittsburgh post-Roethlisberger era.
Jones has proven in the last few seasons that he just isn’t that guy, and he isn’t a reliable back up. Jones is a solid 3rd string quarterback, but nothing more. He played a great game against the Cardinals in the wake of both Roethlisberger and Vick being down, but showed a week later against the Chiefs why he just can’t really start.
Some people might want to believe that Jones still has the potential to be a solid back up, but the Steelers simply cannot take that risk with injuries to Ben coming as frequently as they did last year. Even if he’s just out for a game or two, the Steelers can’t afford to rely on a Landry Jones to carry them to victories.
Backups are extremely important. When running back Le’Veon Bell went down with his season ending injury last season, having DeAngelo Williams to fall back on kept the Steelers prolific offense afloat, and led them to the playoffs. It allowed the team to remain strong in both the pass and running game, something that was necessary for success.
Brian Hoyer is an option Pittsburgh should definitely look into. He may not be the best starter, but Hoyer has years of experience under his belt, and has proven that he can be a winner. Ryan Fitzpatrick is another option, but it’s unlikely Pittsburgh would meet his demands.
The best option would be for Pittsburgh to invest a later draft pick in another guy. While finding someone experienced is a safer option, finding another draft prospect that seems to have upside and hoping is safer than relying on Jones.
Obviously, securing a back up quarterback is not the top need in Pittsburgh, but cannot be overlooked as a need. Depth is an important thing in football, and to be able to implement the idea of next man up, you need people to fall back on.
Expect Pittsburgh to address the issue in some way this offseason. Who knows, maybe they’ll draft Roethlisberger’s eventual replacement? We’ll find out.