Dunlap: Give Me Mettenberger

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Zach Mettenberger should start on Sunday at quarterback for the Steelers against the Patriots.

He won’t.

Know why? Because the Steelers are too damn unsurprising and because Landry Jones is a guy — and this will be used as the ammunition as to why he will start — who allegedly knows Todd Haley’s system better.

Great, awesome, whatever.

I guess that’s a singular regard in which there really still is a Steeler Way; not taking a big chance even when it could pay off but instead placing what is deemed as the safest bet.

All that said, this is no personal knock against Jones, his skill set, the 56 passes he’s thrown in the NFL or the distinction Mike Tomlin once gave him as the quarterback who might be one of the most seasoned in preseason NFL history, but I just don’t want to see him against the Patriots. More to the point, I don’t want to see Jones starting any games for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here’s why: I have seen enough of Landry Jones as a guy trying to make it as a Pittsburgh Steeler. I saw enough of the guy who is at best a game manager of the highest order and at worst a guy who looked discombobulated on a crucial third-and-1 against the Dolphins on Sunday leading to a horrible throw.

Now, don’t get me wrong, Mettenberger hasn’t done much in the NFL either — but at least he’s been a legitimate starter in this league. On top of that, he’s thrown almost four times as many passes as Jones (in one fewer season in the NFL) and did complete over 1,400 yards of passes in seven games in 2014.

So, go ahead and explain to me — other than Jones being here longer — exactly how Mettenberger doesn’t give the Steelers a better chance at victory. For me at least, it isn’t much of a competition, Mettenberger is a better quarterback than Landry Jones.

Always has been and always will be.

As far as the Steelers are concerned, Mettenberger is a better quarterback on Sunday and that is really all they should be concerned about if they want to provide themselves the best opportunity at beating the Tom Brady-led Patriots.

Now Ron Cook, the esteemed columnist at the Post-Gazette and my colleague at 93.7 The Fan is a man I admire and have unyielding respect for. He is journalistic stalwart in this city. Ron often, when position battles play out with the Steelers, cites an old standard of his. It goes like this (and I’m paraphrasing here) “the coaches know more about each player than I do because they get to see them in practice and I don’t.”

That’s a very well-reasoned and respected viewpoint from Ron.

I appreciate the heck out of it.

For me, however, I will use the games. I’ve seen enough of Landry Jones playing in games for the Pittsburgh Steelers to know, with Ben Roethlisberger down, I want to see someone else.

Give me Mettenberger on Sunday. Although I understand fully the Steelers almost certainly won’t do it.

Colin Dunlap is a featured columnist at CBSPittsburgh.com. He can also be heard weekdays from 5:40 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sports Radio 93-7 “The Fan.” You can e-mail him at colin.dunlap@cbsradio.com. Check out his bio here.

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One Comment

  1. AJ Perko says:

    Landry Jones is pretty much the worst back up in the NFL, and that includes 3rd and 4th stringers. I think he must be a Rooney grandkid or something?

  2. If he can run when things get hairy then start him, rather than a guy who is going to sit there and get sacked because his options are covered. RUN

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