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Jarvis Jones Shows Signs Of Life As A Pass Rusher

By Matthew Marczi

Yesterday, we highlighted some of the struggles that Pittsburgh Steelers rookie starting outside linebacker Jarvis Jones had while facing the New York Jets, which saw him being fooled on misdirections or missing tackles that led to big games. He looked more like a rookie at moments in this past game than he had in the first four.

In the aforementioned article, however, it was also written that Jones had some of his better moments of the season, and that was certainly the case. In particular, he had his most effective afternoon as a pass rusher thus far as a professional, with the climax of course being the quarterback hit that led to Lawrence Timmons’ game-clinching interception as the Jets approached the goal line.

On at least one occasion that I observed this past game, Dick LeBeau rushed Jones from an inside position (as he is wont to do with his outside linebackers on occasion). This is something that he had great success with in college, and it was no different here.


The Jets were facing third down on this play and, in the dime package, the Steelers had a mixed front, with LaMarr Woodley, Brett Keisel, and Cameron Heyward serving as standing linemen with Jones and Timmons behind. Heyward is over the center, and Jones is shaded just off his right shoulder, but off the snap, he rushes the B Gap between Austin Howard and Willie Colon. Colon is too slow in picking him up, though I would not put too much blame on the former Steeler—the suddenness of Jones’ rush was impressive. The end result is a pressure that forces a throwaway after Jones manages to get a hand on Geno Smith.

Jones really did not have too much success rushing the passer again until late in the game, however, but he is learning and getting better. For example, he showed off a key skill on the play before his quarterback hit that resulted in the turnover.


Once again in the dime, this time the Steelers have Jones rush from a more traditional position. He is lined up against D’Brickashaw Ferguson at left tackle—an underrated player, in my estimation—and for the first time I can recall, Jones shows signs of a bull rush and successfully walks Ferguson back into the quarterback. In fact, he makes Smith trip over Woodley, who had fallen to the ground in his rush attempt on the opposite side against Howard.


It was just the next play, of course, when Jones made the biggest impact play of his young career. A play after walking their left tackle back into the quarterback, the Jets left Jones one on one with running back Mike Goodson. Jones gave him a good pop and pushed him aside, then laid into Smith, knocking him to the ground. I would say that Jones won this round of the backs on backers drill.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Shannon Stephenson

    He is getting better but it still isn’t where we want to be.

  • Jeff

    I loved that bull rush in the 2nd GIF… Imagine that when he packs on some more muscle

  • PA2AK

    Well considering the expectations at OLB for the Steelers is typically a pro-bowl caliber guy…I think he’s doing as good as anyone should realistically hope for. Sometimes the hype on this kid has overshadowed what he is accomplishing in his young career. He has exceeded legitimate expectations, IMO.

  • Eric

    I agree with you Shannon. Good player, but he has a long way to go as a Steeler OLB. I would expect more from a #1 pick.

  • Mike.H

    I had no idea 22 William Gay got a pick… that means Jarvis Jones caused 2 INT’S. One by Timmons as well. Game changer, all NFL teams need.


    You have to love Dick LeBeau. Keisel and Heyward run a stunt while Jones and Woodley do the same while Troy blitzes. Smith has no idea who is coming from where. Jones even hides behind Heyward pre-snap. If Jones takes a better line of pursuit, he chases Smith right into Heyward’s arms. Watch Troy with the spin move and appreciate his motor. We should feel honored to have been able to watch Troy play. Ziggy can’t do what Heyward did on this play.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I don’t think I would say he has exceeded expectations, but I am certainly fine with where he is at this point.

  • dgh57

    Remember back in the preseason when J. Jones had most of us raving about the splash plays and him always being around the ball. Goes to show us he still needs to bring his level of play up to the higher level of talent he’s facing. I think he will as the season moves along as he learns from each play he’s involved in, and the coaches work with him in the film room describing what he did wrong. It will be interesting to see what we have in week 12 as compared to now.

  • Showboogie

    Ryan Clark made the pick not Gay..


    Well, we knew it wasn’t “Klank” Taylor.

  • PA2AK

    What I tried to say is he has exceeded legitimate expectations. There was a lot of hype surrounding this kid on draft day. Not that anyone I know really said so, but there was definitely some hysteria around him. You know, the automatic starter. Maybe make it to the pro-bowl as a rookie type hype.

  • CW

    To be honest I was hoping for more from Jones, but that being said he’s done well for a rookie in the Steelers defensive scheme. I am impressed so far with Shamarko Thomas, Vince Williams, and Jones as rookie draft picks. Each has done significantly better than what we Steelers fans have come to expect from defensive rookies.

    Even special teamer rookie free agent Garvin has looked interesting in limited playing time.

  • Shea Fahr

    Matt, you are very good at showing the negatives vs. the positives…nice work by a Rook OLB with some sort of concussion. This is a nice finish to your piece about Jarvis looking like a rook earlier in the week. Sweet.

  • Shea Fahr

    It is truly amazing that we have 2 Rookie LB’s starting this year in the Wizard’s Defense. That in itself shows the progressive transition we are in and I like it.

  • Johnny Loose

    You probably expect more from Jesus too….

  • Shea Fahr

    You mean the “Klank” Taylor that shuts down the opposing team’s number 1 WR week in and week out for the last several years?? Be very Thankful Ike is on this Team because he is our Best Corner..


    Don’t we all?


    That’s exactly who I mean. And as he has stated before, if he could catch the ball we wouldn’t be able to afford him.

  • Eric

    If Jesus was alive, he probably would say “Do not let your fans be troubled. Trust in Roethlisberger; trust also in your offensive line.” WTF to your comment, however.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I agree 100% that what he has accomplished is realistically all we could have hoped for. If he doesn’t grow any farther would it still be considered an accomplishment? If this is what we will get from JJ next year what will we be saying? That is all I am saying. He still needs to get better.

  • Johnny Loose

    Obviously he has a long way to go… you expected him to put up elite numbers and earn a DPOY his rookie season or what? He is progressing well and is still developing only 7 games into his career. In a way I’ve just grown tired of the negativity no matter what happens. Pittsburgh could win a superbowl this season and you’d complain because the defense gave up too many points. The comment was exaggerated. Oops

  • Eric

    Johnny, I am not sure where this is coming from. I am a Steeler fan since 1972, and my posts on this site are both positive and negative, but always the way I see it. There might be a lot of negativity out there, but it is not all coming from me. I admit that I was not in favor of drafting Jones, because I didn’t see him as a significant upgrade over Worlids and we had more pressing needs than OLB especially on offense. Since JJ has been here, I can’t remember ever saying anything bad about him other than todays “I expect more from a #1 pick”. If other people are bothering you with negative comments, bring it up with them.

  • PA2AK

    That’s obviously an entirely different question.


    were alive. were.

  • Matt Searls

    Loved seeing him bull rush that back right into the qb’s lap. I remember when we were worried that he only had a speed rush. Once it all clicks, he will be great

  • steeltown

    Agreed.. already knew he could rush from the middle, but I haven’t seen him bull rush anyone with that much authority in the pros yet, another year of strength training and he should be even better with this move

  • steeltown


  • Johnny Loose

    I usually do bring it up with them. There’s so many though I’d be commenting all day. JJ hasn’t exactly set the world on fire, no. But if you look across the league at other first rounders, I don’t think very many at all are destroying teams this early in their career. I don’t expect more at this point because I temper my expectations for any rookie. Everyone’s learning curve is different and JJ is way ahead of MANY linebackers that have come through Pittsburgh when comparing rookie campaigns. I’m just like, take it easy on him. Of course, we’d all like to SEE more from everyone, but EXPECTING too see more form Jarvis with not much of a sample size is unfair to him. Give him some time to really get acclimated to pro ball. Let the game come to him. He’s had a great start for a rook.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    No it isn’t. My first statement was that he isn’t where we want him to be. If this is it in his growth he will be considered a bust.

  • PA2AK

    obviously….but you DO see that analyzing where a player is now is a completely different question than analyzing where he will be in 1, 2, 3 years down the road, right? That may have been what you meant…but it wasn’t what you said or what anyone is talking about here.

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