The Pittsburgh Steelers rotated their outside linebackers Sunday in their season opening loss to the Tennessee Titans and head coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday during his press conference that we can expected the same course of action Monday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“Like we did in that game, all of those guys are going to play,” said Tomlin about the outside linebacker rotation. “I thought Jarvis (Jones) did some nice things, I thought Jason (Worilds) did some nice things. We’re going to continue to look at that group and utilize all three guys, the third guy obliviously being LaMarr Woodley.”
Jason Worilds, who started the game against the Titans, played 46 snaps to Jarvis Jones’ 30. LaMarr Woodley, who didn’t seem to be a big fan of a rotation heading into the game, was only pulled off the field for only eight plays in total.
While it looked like the Steelers were using Jones in a two series off, one series on type of rotation against the Titans, Tomlin said Tuesday that the rookie’s playing time was mostly guided by snap numbers.
“There was a rotation, but there was also the ability to adjust the rotation, so I don’t want to say definitively that it was two on, one off,” said Tomlin. “It was a snap count, if you will.”
While Tomlin indicated that both Worilds and Jones did some nice things Sunday, “some” might be an exaggeration when you watch the tape. Sure, Jones had a bone crushing hit in the Titans backfield on running back Chris Johnson, but being as tight end Delanie Walker blew his blocking assignment on the play, it’s hard to give a standing ovation to him for a play that he was expected to make.
As for Worilds, he registered a missed tackle on defense to go along with two assisted tackles and neither he nor Jones really threatened Titans quarterback Jake Locker when he dropped back to pass.
At some point, Jones will become the starter during the season, but he has to improve his pass rush along the way. Woodley has the only sack for the team thus far as they head into week two and one a week from the trio is simply not going to cut it, rotation or no rotation.