Unless it isn’t.
Via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Jones said that he wasn’t ready to rule Roethlisberger out of their final game before the bye week.
There is a bit of a difference between Rivers coming back in 2008 for the AFC Championship Game and Roethlisberger playing a game in the middle of the regular season. And because of that (and the upcoming week off) no one really expects Roethlisberger to play this week.
That leaves it with Jones, who has had some good moments in relief, but whose track record is frankly a little spotty. And the offensive talent around him understands they have to do their part to keep things moving.
“We have to get Landry confidence,” running back Le’Veon Bell said. “When he’s confident, he’s made some plays. And when he has some pep in his step, he can strike. Ben’s been a starter for a long time at a high level. We just have to get him to the point where he’s real confident and he feels like he can do no wrong and feels like he can strike.
“We don’t want him to be too tense and thinking about too much at once. We want him to be confident and go out there and make some plays. He came in during the Arizona game and was striking. That was a big pickup for him. We have to do things he’s comfortable with. And obviously I have to help make plays and keep pressure off his back by running the ball well.”
Of course, if Roethlisberger makes a miraculous recovery, it will all be a moot point. But this isn’t the playoffs, no matter how big a game against the Patriots might seem.