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In a familiar position

It's been "business as usual" for Landry Jones this preseason, just as Jones had anticipated all along.

The drafting of quarterback Mason Rudolph on the third round back in April didn't turn up the heat on Jones, who's entering his sixth NFL season.

The presence of second-year pro Josh Dobbs, a fourth-round selection in 2017, likewise didn't make Jones' position any more difficult to maintain.

But nor was there any less pressure to perform when necessary.

"That's kind of what it is for a backup quarterback," Jones had assessed upon reporting to Saint Vincent College. "They're going to bring someone in every year, it doesn't matter if they draft a guy or (sign) someone in free agency.

"Any time they bring anybody in there's always that sense of anxiety about, 'Am I going to have a job? Am I going to make the team?'"

Such concerns don't appear to apply any longer for Jones, who has started a combined five games over the last three seasons.

He went 4-for-4 passing for 83 yards, including a 71-yard touchdown to wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and compiled a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the preseason opener on Aug. 9 at Philadelphia.

The Steelers didn't even bother to play Jones last Thursday night at Green Bay.

That continued a preseason during which Jones hasn't gotten "as much opportunity as I've been used to."

And that suggests, in the event there had been a legitimate question about the No. 2 spot at quarterback behind Ben Roethlisberger entering training camp there may not have been the Steelers have already seen enough to know what they have in Jones.

"I would hope so," he said. "You just really don't know. I think you always have a little bit of uncertainty until that Saturday at 4 p.m., whenever they have to turn those (53-man) rosters in."

Jones' command of the offense has been on display since the Packers game, including on Sunday night in the "Family Fest" practice at Heinz Field.

He capped a two-minute series with a thread-the-needle, 21-yard touchdown pass down the seam to tight end Jesse James, who had managed to find just enough space between safety Jordan Dangerfield and inside linebacker Jon Bostic.

The assigned task for the offense had been to drive 60 yards for a touchdown in 1:52 with the benefit of one timeout. Jones ended up 4-for-5 on the march. He hit James over the middle, (for 7 yards), running back James Conner on a check-down (for 7 yards), wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey on a crossing route (for a gain of 25), and then failed to connect with Smith-Schuster (cornerback Joe Haden came up with a pass defensed) prior to the scoring strike.

There was still 1:09 left on the clock when Jones found James to end it.

"Jesse made a great play on that, too," Jones said. "I tried to give him a nice, high ball in the back of the end zone. He went up and got it.

"It's always more fun to throw into a crowd, right? It looks cooler."

Roethlisberger describes Jones as "a guy that obviously can play, can come in, can get you out of a game, can start a game."

But beyond that, Roethlisberger values Jones as "someone that I trust.

"If I ask a question, he's going to know that answer," Roethlisberger maintained just before the Steelers broke camp. "'Hey Landry, what was that coverage? What did you see?'

"I may be looking left and I'll ask him what happened on the right side and I trust what he's going to tell me."

It's an aspect of his role Jones appreciates and embraces.

"You have to build relationships with people," he said. "That's a part of being a backup and that's the unspoken thing that people don't always see. It's not always the most talented guy that will get into that role. It's a guy that can handle a gameplan, a guy that the starting quarterback trusts and has a relationship with.

"I've been through a lot of games with Ben. We've just kind of developed that rapport with one another."