- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 27, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Joe Webb has a job beyond the weekend.

Landry Jones would like one too.

Whether the Pittsburgh Steelers’ third-string quarterback gets to stick around beyond the weekend could depend on how he fares in Thursday night’s preseason finale against Webb and the Carolina Panthers.

“I need to see consistent above-the-line play in all areas,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said when asked about the former Oklahoma star’s status.

That hasn’t exactly happened during another bumpy training camp for the former fourth-round pick. Jones appears much improved in practice, hitting open receivers and hanging tough despite often running the scout team against the starting defense.

It just hasn’t translated into games. Jones is just 13 of 26 for 127 yards and an interception this month. Not exactly a compelling case to make Jones the backup behind Ben Roethlisberger.

Jones has put little heat on veteran Bruce Gradkowski, meaning his best shot at surviving when the rosters are trimmed to 53 players is convincing the coaching staff three quarterbacks are better than two.

“It’s a work in progress and it is what it is right now, I’m just excited about Thursday,” Jones said.

He won’t lack for reps. Roethlisberger will spend the game wearing a baseball cap and Gradkowski may only make a cameo before joining Roethlisberger on the sideline. There’s a chance Jones will at least have the luxury of working with a handful of starters as the Steelers (1-2) try to build something resembling momentum heading into the season opener against Cleveland.

“I think it’s important that you finish on the upswing,” Tomlin said.

The Panthers (1-2) are searching for the same thing. Like Pittsburgh, Carolina has been a mixed bag during August. The starters looked outclassed in a loss to New England last week and quarterback Cam Newton sustained a rib injury that ended even the faintest notion he would play this week.

Newton insists he’ll be fine when the Panthers travel to Tampa Bay on Sept. 7.

“I’m going to continue to come in and get as much treatment as possible so my body will be 100 percent,” Newton said.

Backup Derek Anderson spent Wednesday awaiting the birth of a child, leaving Webb as the only quarterback left. Webb signed as a free agent in the offseason after four erratic years in Minnesota, where he started four games and later saw time at wide receiver.

Rivera plans to keep Webb around just in case Newton’s ribs don’t heal as quickly as hoped. Webb can turn an extended tryout into something more substantial with solid play on Thursday.

Story Continues →