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Jones embracing his opportunity

Posted Dec 28, 2016

Backup quarterback eager to 'go out there and play the game you love.'

With Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Maurkice Pouncey Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin’s list of players he’ll “look hard at preserving and protecting” in the regular-season finale, Landry Jones is poised to start at quarterback on Sunday vs. Cleveland.

He won’t have the all of the Steelers’ weapons at his disposal, but Jones maintains he’ll still have plenty with which to work.

“People have to step up and play,” Jones said. “‘D.A.’ (wide receiver Demarcus Ayers) is going to have to do a good job again for us. (Wide receiver) Eli (Rogers) has been playing well, really, all year long. And then you have (running back) DeAngelo (Williams), who’s played a ton of football. When Le’Veon was out early, (Williams) did a really good job for us. You’ll have guys who will step in there and play well.

“This is the regular season so you have a 53-man roster. It’s not like you can just sit everybody. The guys that are going to be out there have played significant ball.”

Jones has started three times previously in his four seasons with the Steelers, including once this season (Oct. 23 against New England).

“You’re always excited to play,” he said. “It’s a grind Monday through Saturday. But once Sunday comes, that’s when the fun starts and you get to go out there and play the game you love.”

Other subjects broached by Jones included:

-The value he’ll glean from starting in the event he’s needed in the playoffs: “It’s just more experience, exposing yourself to different game situations and all the things that come up with it.”

-The impact getting the first-team reps in practice this week will have on his state of readiness on Sunday: “You just feel more prepared. It’s different whenever you’re the backup because you don’t  actually get physical reps at plays. It’s different being under center and actually getting those physical reps.

-His comfort level with the offense: “I’ve been in this offense four years now, so I feel comfortable with basically everything that we’re running out there. We’ll put together a good gameplan and go out there and try to win a ballgame.”

-Avoiding sacks: “That’s just not my game, holding the ball and scrambling around and making plays like that. My game is more making quick decisions and being decisive.”

-The Browns: “They have a bunch of good players. It’s not like they’ve just flat our gotten beat in games. It’s little things here and there that have gotten them beat to this point.”

-His level of anticipation for the Browns game: “We have a great opportunity in this business to make a good living for our family. When you get those type of opportunities you want to capitalize on it.

“There’s nothing that replaces going out there and getting a win, that’s what I’m really focused on.”