Ben vs. Brady has pizzazz. Landry vs. Brady, not so much, but that's what it will be on Sunday at Heinz Field when the New England Patriots visit for a 4:25 p.m. game against the Steelers..
During his weekly news conference today, Coach Mike Tomlin made official what everyone has expected since early Sunday evening, that being the Steelers' starting quarterback against the Patriots will be Landry Jones.
"I will say this about Landry: He has been here a number of years now; he has a very good understanding of our offense," said Tomlin. "That knowledge and understanding is one thing, the ability to execute is another. We are going to give him all the reps this week and let him go through the preparation process. It's less about what he knows and more about what he is capable of executing at a high level. His opinion will be a component of that. He is a good communicator. It's part of the functions of being a backup quarterback, the talking of schematics and the seeing of what is on the field and the communicating of such. He has grown in a lot of ways in that area in the last several years. Hopefully that's an asset to him as we prepare and ultimate play this week."
In addition to Roethlisberger, Tomlin also listed Cam Heyward and Cody Wallace as being out for Sunday's game. The rest of the injured list included Markus Wheaton (shoulder), Ryan Shazier (knee), Robert Golden (groin), Marcus Gilbert (ankle), Rob Golden (foot), Mike Mitchell (knee), and Le'Veon Bell (knee) as examples of players whose ability to practice will determine whether they'll be able to play on Sunday.
One of the players not mentioned in the above paragraph, but one player whose health situation is a pertinent topic this week is Ladarius Green. Considered the gem of the team's offseason signings, Green had ankle surgery early in the offseason, and as a result he was unable to participate in any of the on-field sessions during the team's offseason program. Green then began training camp on the physically unable to perform list, remained there through the entirety of the preseason and was on that list when the season opened.
Because of that, Green was required to miss the first six weeks of the regular season before the Steelers could have an option of opening a three-week window during which he could participate in practice and be evaluated as to whether he might be added to the active roster. The game in Miami was the sixth week, and so Green could start practicing with the team this week.
"I haven't met with our medical staff yet and made that determination whether he will be available to us this week," said Green. "I know he is eligible for consideration at this point."
Eligible to practice and capable of practicing are two different things.
"I hadn't looked at those considerations yet. I've had more pressing issues in terms of guys who are dealing with more current issues from a health standpoint," said Tomlin. "I'm sure I'm going to have that meeting at some point Tuesday afternoon, and look at his status and make a determination of what we're going to do with him from a practice standpoint. The position he's in, he's now eligible to start the practice process, and then we're given a window to determine whether or not we utilize him. Those are the elements of the equation, and the elements of the discussion I'll have some time (Tuesday) afternoon."
If Green is to get the go-ahead, it would make sense for the decision to be made so that he can practice tomorrow for the start of the week's preparations for the Patriots. If that happens, the Steelers would have a 21-day window to evaluate Green before having to make a decision on whether to activate him to the 53-man roster.
TOMLIN'S INJURY UPDATE
"We released a statement yesterday regarding Ben. He had an outpatient procedure to repair his meniscus on Monday. He can be characterized as out this week. I'm not going to get into speculating on how long it's going to be. When he's healthy, he'll be back to us. So we'll deal with that on a week-to-week basis.
"Cam Heyward will continue to be out with his hamstring (as will) Cody Wallace, with his knee. We have a number of guys whose availability will be based on their practice participation. That list includes Markus Wheaton (shoulder), Ryan Shazier (knee), Shamarko Thomas (groin), Marcus Gilbert (ankle). A couple of additional injuries – developing ones from the game the other day – Rob Golden (foot), Mike Mitchell (knee). Mitchell came out for a portion of the game and was able to go back in. DeAngelo Williams has had some inflammation in his knee, and we'll keep a close eye on that. As always we'll deal with a myriad of these things, we'll keep an eye on these guys. But their practice participation, and the quality of that participation, will be our guide as we formulate a division of labor relative to this game."