Jarvis Jones Becoming More Acclimated To The Defense

By Matthew Marczi

Jarvis Jones got his first start in a few weeks since being demoted because LaMarr Woodley was forced to sit out the game with an injury. He only played sparsely, and occasionally in specialized roles, in the interim, so it is difficult to draw conclusions about his progress from that.

He played just about the entire game against the Lions though, and while he clearly is still raw, particularly as a pass rusher and in coverage, he does seem to be more comfortable and more assignment-friendly.

The more comfortable he gets, the freer he is able to play, which will translate, theoretically, to impact plays. Perhaps we got a glimpse of that with a pair of batted passes, which were reportedly a frequent sight in training camp.

The first of two came late in the second quarter. Jones started out rushing wide before peeling back, with Cameron Heyward rushing the edge instead. Jones cut back in front of the pocket and stepped into Matthew Stafford’s passing lane, getting his hands up and nearly intercepting the pass from just five feet away.

That was his assignment, and he executed it faithfully. Another assignment that he was frequently given against the Lions was a pass rushing stunt, lining both outside linebackers on the same side of the line. The Steelers ran this multiple times with success, this time for a sack.

Jones lined up wide, with Jason Worilds lined up to his inside. They both moved away from each other at the snap, with Jones drawing the left tackle wide before cutting inside, causing him to follow, which allowed Worilds to spin to the outside of the line around the left tackle, resulting in the sack.

Jones had a great game against the run against the Chicago Bears earlier this season, but since then has struggled. He looked good at least on this play, shedding the left tackle in order to peel back and make the stop after a modest gain.

Jones got a chance to finish off his day with yet another batted pass. This time the outside linebackers lined up on the left side together, but did not run a stunt. Jones just worked to push the pocket against the right tackle, watching Stafford’s eyes and timing his jump in order to deflect the ball. These are the types of plays Jones will be expected to continue to make as he works himself back into a full-time starting position.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • dgh57

    J.Jones got what the Doctor ordered for what ails him which is his under performance to date and that is playing time(medicine). Can’t think of a better medicine for a 1st rounder to take for that condition. As with most medicines the symptoms of under performance should abate if he gets to continue to get his playing time(medicine)!

    No, I’m not a Doctor!

  • Jarod Wells

    He created that sack for worilds in that second GIF. He stunted to the middle, occupying the guard and the tackle. Great team defense!

  • Elijah Stevenson

    He’ll develop more as a pass rusher.

  • JAMESH

    In the first GIF, isolate on Ziggy doing his patented “tippy toe, no leg drive” rush which the RG easily handles. The C never even gets involved in a double team because he just doesn’t have to. Wish we would try McLendon and Heyward when only using 2 DLmen.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Slow and steady improvement by JJ hope he continues to get more playing time.

  • Rick M

    I’ve only had time to re-watch the first half of the Detroit game, but I watched every play by Jones and he was stunningly bad when he attempted to pass rush and I’m not exaggerating. He didn’t even get close to the QB and a number of times he ended up on the ground as Riley Reiff thoroughly dominated him. Worilds was far more impressive and clearly more powerful.

    Jones simply has to put on 10 to 15 pounds of muscle in the off-season, because right now he’s being dominated by most left tackles.

  • charles

    Jones’ pressure has contributed to at least 2 ints, probably 3 and maybe 4. This is why stat tossers are just covering up for lack of knowledge of the game. A pressure that forces the qb to throw errantly or hurriedly which results in an int is much better than a sack. Jones play has been exceptional for where he is in his experience.

  • Rick M

    You obviously don’t watch game tape a second time. As for the stats you provided, the Steelers have played 10 games and he has one sack after approximately 150 pass rushing attempts.

    Why don’t you actually re-watch the first half of the Detroit game, rather than throwing out meaningless multi-game statistics? If you think Jones’s play has been exceptional for a first-year player, you haven’t been focusing on his play, or your wearing rose-colored glasses, or you just don’t know football. Likely it’s a combination of the three.

    Jones is a rookie and he deserves a couple of years before a definitive judgement is made. But any objective fan can see that he’s just not strong enough right now.

  • charles

    You are right Rick. I would rather read a chemistry textbook than watch a game twice. I also watch the games without alcohol . This is how it is easy to remember Timmons’ first interception and one of two of Ryan Clark’s. Since you have so much time on your hands, I challenge you to watch the interceptions by the D and see if you don’t see Jones putting pressure on the qb in at least three and like I said probably four. I also fill out the hardest Sudoku all at once and have remembered 57 numbers to fill out the puzzle , so I know that I have a good memory. That is the reason that I frequent the Steelers Depot because these guys do review the tapes. One other thing Rick, is that I come to this site to talk football and not make tinny comments about others.

  • 20Stoney

    I think he needs some time in the weight room.

  • 20Stoney

    I watch him as much as I can, and what I see is a guy that usually tries to run by the tackle and just gets pushed upfield. He also seems to lack strength when he bull rushes. He really needs to be freed up by scheme to be effective right now.

  • Rick M

    The first personal insult was from you Charles. I quote: “This is why stat tossers are just covering up for lack of knowledge of the game.” Then again I don’t expect people like you to acknowledge and admit that.

    Congratulations on your pending PHD degree, your Sudoku brilliance and the other mental abilities that you seem so proud of. The fact that I played and coached football pales in comparison.

  • Rick M

    Good analysis 20S.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    Being good at Sudoku makes you a genius in the game of football. Its been proven by my many studies.

  • Chad H

    Rick I agree with your assessment. He needs to gain strength and move to the inside.
    Also in my free time I like to shoot tasty animals but we need guys to be in chemistry books just not have a big head about their smarts.

  • Rick M

    Chad…LOL (several times).

  • Guest

    Chad – lol (several times)…cheers

  • dgh57

    I agree and think Jones will mature along the lines of Timmons who most of us were complaining about in his 1st year.

  • JAMESH

    I’m a Chemistry professor who drinks alcohol and coaches football………….. life good.

  • alex

    yeah, he needs some meat on them bones in order to develop something other than a speed rush…

    but lets hope that his continued success and Sharks play will finally mean that we see our youngsters playing on the field rather then learning on the bench with the 2014 Butler defense!