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Film Study: Inside The Minute Drill Featuring Landry Jones

With less than a minute remaining in the first half against the Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Landry Jones was at the helm and looking to extend their lead going into the half.  Throughout training camp, head coach Mike Tomlin worked extensively on this particular scenario with all his quarterback, as this drill represents one of the best ways of assessing the composure of a quarterback.

So Steelers fans, let’s go!

 

2nd & 5, .55 seconds remaining

The first play was a screen pass to second-year running back James Conner who had been doing a proficient job of catching the ball in open field at this point. Jones, in this case, did a good job of letting the Titans pass rush take its course before making the simple pass to Conner. When reviewing the entire play, Jones made the only decision that was available. The result was a short but important five-yard gain.

1st & 10, .46 seconds remaining

Steelers offense, in this case, is showing a trips formation on the left side, with Jones in shogun; Conner on this play is positioned at the halfback right spot. Before the ball is snapped, receiver Juju-Smith Schuster motions closer to left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. When the ball is snapped, Smith-Schuster briefly engages with the Titans outside linebacker, then releases to run his route. At the same time, Conner runs a quick slant route inside which is detected by the Titans slot corner, who is able to stop Conner for no gain. Considering the Titans defensive backs were playing ‘zone’, the result was inevitable, yet Jones did have the time and protection to get Smith-Schuster on the seam route.

2nd & 10, .25 seconds remaining

In this instance, Jones is once again in shogun formation, with the Steelers showing a four-wide receiver set, very much a trademark of a Randy Fitchner-type offense. When the ball is snapped, rookie receiver James Washington is seen running an inside slant route from the left side. Jones is able to delay enough time and to find Smith-Schuster inside for the six-yard gain. Jones in the case made the correct read, as Washington had a Titans defender waiting for that pass to come across which would have resulted in either no gain or loss of yards.

3rd & 4, .19 seconds remaining

Jones back in shotgun formation and the Steelers showing a three-wide receiver set. From the snap, Jones fires a throw intended for tight end Jesse James running a seam route. The ball is placed high enough for James to catch but is unable to complete the reception, due to the play made by the Titans cornerback. Jones could have taken a more conservative approach by passing it to either Smith-Schuster or Washington, yet the opportunity for and the pass was well placed; thus Jones made the right decision in this sequence.

 

The Steelers ended up settling for the field goal, but Jones succeeded in placing the offense in position to collect points. With Jones, there was nothing spectacular about how operated in the drill, he simply made the plays that he needed to make which was one would ask from a backup quarterback.

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