LATROBE, Pa. -- If Bruce Gradkowski is out for significant time because of a shoulder injury, the Pittsburgh Steelers must rely on Landry Jones, Tajh Boyd or Tyler Murphy to back up Ben Roethlisberger.
If you're counting at home, that's an "up and down" fourth-rounder (offensive coordinator Todd Haley's words about Jones' offseason workouts performance), a journeyman sixth-rounder who's on his third team since entering the league in 2014, and an undrated quarterback who tried out receiver in the spring only to return to quarterback.
All three have struggled at times during camp, though Boyd's struggles Monday seem correctable. Boyd had several fumbles (some of which appeared to come from bad snaps) but flourished in 11-man red-zone work with several completions, two for touchdowns. Jones has his bright spots but too often has missed on routine throws. He hasn't played a down in two NFL seasons and told ESPN.com he's still searching for his identity in the league.
I'm predicting Boyd will win the third-quarterback job on my pre-camp 53-man roster, but I'm not sure any of these three players are prepared to be a No. 2.
In other words, Gradkowski better get that shoulder right. Gradkowski recently told reporters that he's about two weeks out.
"If that happens, then I'll deal with it," said head coach Mike Tomlin when asked how he liked his backup quarterback options if Gradkowski needs much more time.
Though Roethlisberger is one of the game's most durable players in the league, backup quarterback is of the Steelers' most intriguing positional battles.