Finally, it’s time for the real games to start. But before that, there was the annual Steelers vs. Panthers preseason finale where the most exciting thing we saw all night was the girl on the corner of Seventh and Penn eating fire after the game.
1) The Steelers are probably going to keep Landry Jones on the 53-man roster, but why? It was another forgettable preseason performance from last year’s fourth-round pick who has yet to show much of anything since being drafted. He completed a bunch of passes on Thursday, but they were all short high percentage throws. The only benefit to keeping a third quarterback is if it’s a player that you think might have some potential to turn into something down the line, and at this point Jones seems unlikely to even be a capable backup. Honestly, I think I saw more from Brandon Kay in his 10 minutes of action than I did from Jones in two preseasons. Go with two quarterbacks, stick Kay on the practice squad, and keep another player on the roster at a position where you need some help. If you’re in a position where you need your third-string quarterback to play, you’re probably already screwed whether it’s Landry Jones, Brandon Kay or Tyler Palko.
2) This was a tough one to get into. The fourth preseason game is, from a football standpoint, the worst thing the NFL has to offer. There were only 40,000 people in the stadium, nobody was interested in the game, and the people that did show up left at halftime. Even the youth football game at halftime was a disaster because the coaches couldn’t get the players organized and run timely plays. Each team was supposed to get four plays from the 10-yard line, but the first team took forever to do anything on offense, from substituting, to calling the play, to actually snapping the ball. The PA announcer was yelling at them over the speakers to hurry up, and the second team only managed to get two plays off before they had to clear the field for the big boys.
3) A few players that stood out: Ryan Shazier seemed to make a few more plays on defense, and Jarvis Jones was more visible than he was in any of the three previous games combined. Brett Keisel showed that maybe he can still play a little bit, and after my initial concerns as to where he would fit on the roster Darrius Heyward-Bey seems to have played his way on over the past two games. The backup running backs, Stephen Houston and Josh Harris both had promising runs. Houston was a shoestring tackle away from taking one to the house in the third quarter. Brad Wing seems to be very hit or miss with his punts. He placed a couple inside the 10, but also had a couple that were just ugly.