The NFL season might have just ended, but there’s still some professional football to follow. On Saturday, February 8, the XFL season will officially kick-off. The league might not have the panache of the NFL, but it does have some players who have suited up for major clubs, like current Dallas Renegades quarterback Landry Jones.
Landry Jones’ college career
After a strong high school career, scouts expected Landry Jones to develop into a legitimate quarterback prospect. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma, hoping to develop in the Sooners’ system.
Jones was a redshirt during his first year in Norman but made the active roster for the 2009 campaign. He started the season as the back-up quarterback but was thrown into the action when Sam Bradford suffered a shoulder injury; in all, Jones ended up playing in 13 games as a freshman, throwing for over 3,000 yards and finding the endzone 26 times.
Bradford then headed to the pros, leaving Jones to take over the starting role. He led the Sooners to a Big 12 title and a Fiesta Bowl victory as a sophomore. While the club didn’t reach the same heights in 2011 or 2012, Jones remained steady under center.
During his Sooner career, Landry Jones appeared in 53 games. He threw for a total of 16,646 yards and 123 touchdowns.
Moving on to the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers
After four seasons of NCAA experience, Landry Jones entered the 2013 NFL draft. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the fourth round, tabbing him as Ben Roethlisberger’s future back-up.
Jones slotted into the Steelers’ depth chart as the third-string quarterback but saw some action in 2015 when both Roethlisberger and Michael Vick suffered injuries. He made a few more appearances in 2016 and 2017; his time was up, however, when Pittsburgh picked up Mason Rudolph as their new understudy in the 2018 draft.
During the 2018 season, Landry Jones joined the Jacksonville Jaguars after Blake Bortles went down injured; he was cut a few weeks later. The quarterback then signed offseason contract with the Oakland Raiders but failed to make the team.
After the Raiders cut him loose, Jones started working a minimum wage job at a home renovation company. Then, his former college coach, Bob Stoops, came calling; that duo is now the centerpiece of the XFL’s Dallas Renegades.
How good of a quarterback is Landry Jones?
During his college career, Landry Jones seemed like a legitimate quarterback. Once he reached the NFL, however, he was up against a different standard of competition.
With the Steelers, Jones appeared in 19 regular-season games over five seasons; only five of those, however, were starts. He completed 63.9% of his passes for a total of 1,310 yards and eight touchdowns; he also threw seven interceptions.
While the fact that Jones never advanced past the back-up role tells you everything you need to know about his NFL career, it’s important to remember that there are only 32 starting quarterbacks at a given time; even the worst NFL player is still a pretty good athlete. Maybe the XFL will give Landry Jones a chance to show that he’s still talented, even if he’s not an elite quarterback anymore.