Why the Steelers Must Stop Neglecting the Backup QB Position

Sep 1, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones (3) is sacked by Carolina Panthers safety Colin Jones (42) during the first half of the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 1, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones (3) is sacked by Carolina Panthers safety Colin Jones (42) during the first half of the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /

The Steelers have annually deferred on chances to draft a backup QB, and they are beginning to feel the consequences.

Please Doc’, Tell Me He’s Going to Be OK?

It can’t be happening again … can it? Big Ben is set to have surgery today to “clean up” his torn meniscus after injuring it during yesterdays devastating loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Fortunately, one former NFL head team doctor, David Chao, claims that Ben may be set to return in a few weeks, and possibly even for the Pats game next Sunday.

While expecting Ben to return next Sunday may be too optimistic, this is pretty welcoming information after initially hearing the words “torn meniscus.” If pain is the only thing holding him back from playing, we all know Roethlisberger will be out there in no time considering the warrior and competitor that he is. However, if the injury isn’t as expected and surgery reveals that Ben will have to miss an extended amount of time, the Steelers will most likely have to turn to Landry Jones for the time being.

The Rumble in the Jungle: Landry Jones vs. Tom Brady

Get ready for the Heavyweight QB bout of the season. Next Sunday, one of the NFL’s elite quarterbacks will take on his competitor, Tom Brady! All jokes aside, next week will preview one of the most lopsided quarterback match-ups you will see all season. The Steelers will need to develop a near perfect game plan to beat the Patriots with Landry taking snaps under center.

Pittsburgh has recently proven that they are able to stay afloat without Ben at the helm. In 2015, they managed to go 2-2 in his absence while keeping their playoff hopes alive. However, it is disappointing how they have yet to find a long term answer to fill in for their oft-injured star QB.

It’s a Copy Cat League

You can see the benefits of using a draft pick to find a reliable backup QB paying off in 2016. The Cowboys have managed to remain among the NFC elite with 4th-rounder Dak Prescott leading them to a 5-1 record. The Patriots went 3-1 without Tom Brady under the guidance of 2nd-rounder Jimmy Garoppolo and 3rd-rounder Jacoby Brissett. The defending Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos are 4-2 after losing Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler partly due to the remarkably admirable play of 7th-rounder Trevor Siemian.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

With all these teams above as proof, you can see how important the backup QB position can be. As a fan, I am tired of seeing the Steelers turn to Landry Jones and his below average play. While I understand it isn’t exactly the easiest task to find quality quarterbacks in the later rounds of the draft, the Steelers need to find some way to add talent to the position. Kevin Colbert may have to dish out some additional cap space in free agency to find a veteran option. Moreover, spending an early-round selection on the QB position may be an attractive option as well. While the price to acquire a legitimate NFL QB is high, I believe it is an urgent need for the Steelers at this point in time.

What’s Next?

For now, the Steelers must hope Landry Jones can keep this season alive while Ben prepares to return.

However, I hope that this injury finally pushes the Steelers to address the backup QB position. As I previewed in several of my earlier Steelers “Draft Watch” articles, I believe the Steelers must begin to plan for the future and at least use a mid-to-late round draft pick on the QB position. Two intriguing options that I have already previewed are Texas Tech’s Pat Mahomes and Washington State’s Luke Falk.

Pat Mahomes is an electrifying talent who is under the tutelage of Kliff Kingsbury, the same coach who helped lead Johnny Manziel to his prolific Heisman campaign. Mahomes possesses some of the same natural talents as Manziel, including his remarkable ability to escape pressure and extend the play, without the off-field baggage.


While Mahomes is more of a boom or bust NFL prospect, Luke Falk has the makings of a reliable backup QB with starting potential. He flashes the ability to make quick, smart reads and protect the football. However, his pocket mobility may hinder his NFL potential.

Next: Steelers News: Ben Roethlisberger, Mike Tomlin, Jay Ajayi

Throughout the rest of the season and up until Draft Day, I will continue to highlight possible QB prospects. If any quarterback catches your eye on Saturdays, comment his name in any one of the “Draft Watch” articles and I will be sure to provide you with a player preview! For now, let’s root on Landry Jones and hope he can prove all of us wrong.