When Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out for this Sunday's game against the New England Patriots after having successful outpatient arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, the blood pressure of Steelers Nation soared as panic set in. It's a typical reaction any time you lose your starting quarterback, especially one with Roethlisberger's talent.
But Landry Jones had some words of wisdom for his teammates during a team meeting on Wednesday, and they are words that everyone should heed.
"As he told us this morning, don't panic," said Arthur Moats.
Jones stood up in the meeting and simply delivered those two words. Nothing else needed to be said.
"You never know when he is going to embrace us and throw out those types of words," said Moats. "It was good to hear from him.
"We are extremely confident. We're not worried about who you put out there. We understand the next man motto doesn't matter at any position. As you have seen this year, we have had those guys come in and have success. It's no different with Landry. We are anticipating him coming in there and playing a great game. He has put his work in, studied and it's his time to shine."
Jones said that he is excited about the opportunity that is ahead of him this week, and the key for him is to go out there and don't panic, just stay loose and play.
"I think if you're a backup in these types of situations, you can almost try to be too perfect and too careful," said Jones. "One time Coach (Mike) Tomlin said something along the lines of, 'Gun fighters are going to get shot.' For me, I have to go out there and cut it loose and play like that rather than trying to be too careful. Try to just go out there and take every check down that I can. Obviously, you have to play smart. But, you have to take what the defense gives you and try to be cautiously aggressive."
Last year Jones, who is in his fourth season, saw his first NFL action filling in when a combination of injuries to Roethlisberger and Michael Vick plagued the team. He made his debut against Arizona, coming in during the game when Vick went down, and completed eight of 12 passes for 168 yards with two touchdowns. Jones played in seven games last season, starting two, and finished the year with 32 completions for 513 yards and three touchdowns.
"You can just draw from the experience from last year," said Jones. "Learn from things you did well, learn from things you didn't do so well and just draw from the experience."
Jones knows this week will be a whole new challenge, going against a Patriots team that is loaded with weapons, including Dont'a Hightower, who had 13 tackles, 1½ sacks, which included a safety, and two quarterback hits last week against Cincinnati that resulted in him winning AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
"They're a great, disciplined group," said Jones. "That's kind of how (Bill) Belichick coaches them. He's going to have guys who are going to go out there and do what they're asked to do. We have a big challenge in front of us.
"They're going to do what they do, but for each team there are little tweaks here and there. I'm sure they'll have something different for us on Sunday and we'll just have to get into the flow of the game."