Former Sooner QB Landry Jones Begins Pivotal 3rd Season in NFL


Sam Bradford has had a pretty wide following among Sooner fans since being selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Bradford’s four-year NFL career has been largely marred by injuries, leading to his trade to the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason. Landry Jones followed Bradford as the Sooners’ starting QB, and he too was drafted into the NFL, three seasons after Bradford.

Jones’ overall passing numbers at OU were even better than Bradford’s, although achieved over two more full seasons than the Heisman Trophy-winner Bradford. Jones ended his career at Oklahoma as the career Big 12 leader in pass attempts, passes completed, passing yards, completion percentage and touchdowns.

Jones was selected in the 4th round of the 2013 NFL Draft, the 115th player taken overall, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since then, very little has been heard about the former OU quarterback. That’s because he has seen action in just one regular-season game, and that in his rookie season in 2013.

This will be Jones third NFL season, and he realizes that this could be a pivotal year in his NFL career. He is the third or fourth quarterback on the Steelers roster behind starter and Pro-Bowl quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is in his 12th NFL season.

“It used to feel as if bodies were flying around me that rookie year.” —Landry Jones

Sportswriter Ralph N. Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review says “Jones’ future with the Steelers could hinge on how well he performs this upcoming preseason. It’s now or never for him to establish himself as the next man up behind Roethlisberger.”

Steelers’ quarterbacks coach Randy Fichtner says he believes the transition from the style of offense Jones played at Oklahoma has taken a little longer for him. That’s not that unusual for QBs that play in today’s modern spread offenses.

Fichtner told the Trib-Review’s Paulk that “Landry is at a point (after two NFL seasons) that he can compete. He (Jones) knows he’s at a time when it’s probably make-or-break time for him.

“Eventually, if there isn’t a potential move forward,” Fichtner says, the younger guys will have to get some work.”

“Landry has been a little up and down, but he’s working hard,” said Steelers’ offensive coordinator Todd Haley. “It’s a tough spot to be in, being the third guy.”

Jones’ chief competition is expected to come from primary backup Bruce Gradowski, a veteran of nine NFL seasons, and newly acquired Tajh Boyd out of Clemson, who was originally drafted in 2014 and released by the New York Jets.

Jones says the game has slowed down for him a little. “It used to feel as if bodies were flying around me that rookie year,” the former Sooner quarterback said in an interview with Paulk. “So I’ve definitely gotten used to the speed of the game.”