The Steelers are blessed to have one of the elite starting quarterbacks in the NFL in Ben Roethlisberger, but they still have questions to be answered as to who will be the primary backup for 2016. Landry Jones is that guy as of now, but the biggest issue holding him back, from locking that role up, has been his inconsistent play. While he played well in spots this past season, Jones also made some plays that were absolutely mind boggling. When asked about his backup quarterbacks during his season ending press conference, and who might be the go to guy next season, Mike Tomlin said it depended on what his options were. That is not exactly a ringing endorsement for Landry Jones. Still, given Jones’s lack of action and practice reps prior to this season, he did a commendable job overall, but is still going to have to earn the backup job for 2016. The other two backups, Bruce Gradkowski and Mike Vick, appear to no longer be in the Steelers plans moving forward.
The Steelers will more than likely look to acquire a backup quarterback through free agency, which as a group, is rather thin. There does, howevet, appear to be some interesting possibilities. Brock Osweiler might be the most interesting name on the list, but Denver is more than likely going to sign him to a long term deal to replace Peyton Manning, so he is pretty much off the table. After Osweiler, there are some other names on the free agent quarterbacks list that could provide solid play behind Ben Roethlisberger, including three who the Steelers should kick the tires on, Chase Daniel, Chad Henne and Dan Orlavsky. Out of the three of them, Chase Daniel has seen the least amount of playing time, but he just might be the best fit for Todd Haley’s offense. Out off 77 career passing attempts, Daniel has completed 50 passes for 464 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Chase Daniel is a student of the game, and has spent three years of his career under Drew Brees, learning the nuances of the pro game. He is mobile, accurate, and isn’t prone to mental mistakes that were made by Landry Jones this season. The Steelers had a backup, for many years, with the same traits, in Charlie Batch. Daniel is an ideal candidate to come on in relief for multiple games because of his preparedness and confidence. He is also knowledgeable enough to help mentor Ben’s future replacement, and would be capable of being a stopgap until that guy is ready. Many thought during this past preseason that he was good enough to potentially start over Alex Smith. Alot of that thinking had to do with his playing days in college, and his prior relationship with Jeremy Macklin at Missouri.
The Steelers usually carry only two quarterbacks on the active roster, and as of now, there are not too many people who are convinced or confident that Landry Jones is the right man to be Ben Roethlisberger’s regular backup. At the very worst, Chase Daniel would provide the necessary competition for Landry Jones, to see if he has what it takes to earn the backup job. Bringing Daniel in would improve the Steelers quarterback situation behind Ben. It would give them a guy who could be that reliable and stable backup for the next four to five years. Having a backup with Chase Daniel’s intelligence means not having to scale back the playbook when he does come in. There may be other free agents quarterbacks out there with stronger arms, but Chase can make all the throws the Steelers would need him to, and he is more accurate. The Steelers may end up going with someone else, but they owe it to themselves to take a look at Chase Daniel before they do.