Breakdown Of Steelers LB Jarvis Jones Versus Dolphins

By Alex Kozora

Breakdown of the 21 snaps played by Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Jarvis Jones against the Miami Dolphins.


First Drive

Snaps: 7

Run: 3

Rush/Drop: 4/0


1. 1st and 10, 4:15 1st. Working against TE Michael Egnew. Gets into his pads and is able to shed but pushed upfield just enough that he can’t get to Ryan Tannehill.

2. 2nd and 10, 4:07. Zone run that LaMarr Miller cuts back, away from Jones. Pancaked by rookie tight end Dion Sims. To be fair, Sims is 265 pounds but you never want to see your defender on the ground early in the play.


3. 3rd and 3, 3:25. Rushes. Showed this in my game breakdown. Pushed way up the arc, giving room for Tannehill to scramble for a first down.


At a point, needs to stop his momentum and work back to the inside like Jason Worilds does. Gives you a better chance to get the quarterback and squeezes the pocket, not allowing him to leak out.


4. 1st and 10, 2:52. 48 yard run by Tannehill. As has been discussed, not the fault of Jones who plays his dive responsibility. Likely the fault of Will Allen for not containing.

5. 1st an 10, 2:15. Able to slip past the waist-bending Bryant McKinnie. Good work vs the lumbering left tackle.

6. 2nd and 10, 2:10. Pushed back twice by McKinnie on this run. Example of needing to get stronger.

7. 2nd and 9, 1:32. Screen by Miami but McKinnie still in pass protection so the block isn’t much different. Important part of the play is Jones getting his hands on McKinnie first.


And then he’s able to stay disengaged from him. Can’t get locked up because once McKinnie gets his hooks on you, the battle is over. Meets Jason Worilds at the quarterback, sandwiching him.


Second Drive

Snaps: 1

Run: 0

Rush/Drop: 1/0


1. 3rd and 17, 12:32 2nd. ROLB for just a play on 3rd and long. Ball out quick. Jones slips off the snap so not much happening on this play.

Third Drive

Snaps: 5

Run: 2

Rush/Drop: 2/1


1. 1st and 10, 4:42 2nd. Run to the right side. Jones free on the backside. Chips on the tackle.

2. 3rd and 9, 4:07. Draw. Sheds the block of McKinnie. Barely stays in the picture.


3. 2nd and 19, 3:39. ILB. Drops into coverage, reading Tannehill. QB scrambles and Jones forces him out of bounds after a 20 yard pickup. Called back due to holding.

4. 2nd and 26, 3:17. ROLB. Worilds stacked on same side, stunts with him. Slants hard to the inside of the left tackle to draw him away. Falls down in the process but does his job, letting Worilds loop around and rush free.



5. 3rd and 13, 2:36. Unable to get enough bend around the edge and McKinnie, who has doubled over. But the left tackle still strong enough to push him off-balanced and upfield.

Example of needing better bend and more strength. Have to beat tackles that are playing with poor technique.

Fourth Drive

Snaps: 3

Run: 0

Rush/Drop: 3/0


1. 1st and 10, :39 2nd. ROLB but loops to center and puts a jolt in Mike Pouncey. Collapses pocket and flushes Tannehill.


2. 2nd and 10, :32. McKinnie absorbs his bull rush. Nothing doing.

3. 3rd and 6, :27. Just can’t execute on this rush. Makes initial contact, gets low, trying to knock hands away. Just couldn’t get around the tackle. Ball out quick so bit of a moot point.

Fifth Drive

Snaps: 4

Run: 2

Rush/Drop: 2/0


1. 1st and 10, 8:05 3rd. Draw to the right. Good backside pursuit/hustle, helps make the tackle.

2. 2nd and 4, 7:23. Up the arc too much.


Only going to get pressure at that depth vs seven step drops.

3. 3rd and 4, 7:19. T/E stunt with Cam Heyward. Passed off well by Miami, not much doing.

4. 1st and 10, 7:08. Unbalanced line with Tyson Clabo base blocking him. Locks on and Jones can’t shed until well after the back has passed.

Sixth Drive

Snaps: 1

Run: 0

Rush/Drop: 0/1


1. 2nd and 3, 12:46 4th. Playaction, boot to the left. Jones still in pursuit by the time Tannehill fires the ball.


Snaps: 21

Run: 7

Rush/Drop: 12/2

I actually came away impressed with Jones. The issues that have been plaguing him all year still exist but I won’t beat a dead horse (this time, at least). He’s finally making an effort to show more active hands. Once he gets stronger in the weight room, something that will just come in time, he’ll be able to convert speed to power and ideally, stopped from getting pushed up the arc when he’s nearly won like what happened in the third drive.

His play against the run has seemed to dip some, though and doesn’t look as strong now as he did at points early in the year. Not sure of the explanation for that.

As I’ve noted before, the team has appeared to simplify his assignments, asking him to drop into coverage a lot less. Lets him play a little bit faster and keep trying to grow as a pass rusher (1 sack in 12 games and that came working against a running back).

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • DrakePirate

    The thing about JJ that kills me is that if this was a 3rd rounder or even a 2nd rounder then I could go along with his slow start and more or less at this point he seems like a project that at best will be a productive, hopefully full time Solid starter after 3 yrs or so ( he is nearing his first full season and nowhere near where he needs to be) … but that is not what we drafted … the steelers pegged him as being one of the special 6 or 7 players in the Draft … to me A special player is at least plug n play solid from the start and obviously gets better down the road .. he was a mid 1st Rounder and I think those types of picks need to be starters and productive starters at that not project types … so from that prospective they missed bigtime with this pick, as opposed to Safety Reid who was picked after him (safety being one of our needs) and was basically plug n play and has had a pretty good season with the niners and a definitely bright future with them … we cant exactly say the same with JJ, hopefully he develops more next year and like everybody says gets a little bigger and stronger … but damn we need more high round picks to be starters from the get go.

    Le’veon on the other hand has been a really pleasant surpirse and while his numbers are’nt breathtaking, his play has been solid and he has been plug n play and i am happy to say that i think we found our workhorse back for the decade .. great pickup, weird how to me he looks nothing like the back i saw on youtube highlights at MSU … he looks much more nimble, quick and athletic with the steelers.

  • Alex Kozora

    I’ve been really critical of JJ but we’re seeing why it’s so unusual for rookies to play this much in LeBeau’s defense. It’s a lot to take in. We’re used to seeing guys at best play situationally (Woodley) their rookie year and by the time they’e starters, they have the mental side under their belt. Everything is getting thrown at Jones immediately and that’s tough to handle for anyone.

    Do we need to see more out of JJ? Absolutely. But he needs a lot more time. People were dogging Cam Heyward at the start of this year. Won’t find a soul that will complain about him now.

  • DrakePirate

    I see your point, but then i have to ask why should we keep such a defensive scheme that results in delaying players progress unless the scheme results are far better than other NFL defenses which i really cant say we are ( i know in the past by the numbers we had some good defenses, but what i personally would like to see from a defense is consistent pressure on the QB, turnovers and a modest point allowance (15-20/gm) I think that is the recipe for defensive success, which we havent had in years …

    so i have to ask, should we keep this scheme or possibly change it if it is actually retarding our young players progress, hopefully JJ turns into a solid stud, but from my point of view i would have rather picked up (Eifert, Reid, Hopkins or Rhodes) last year … and it seems to me like all of them are having a better year than JJ (btw i think Cam had the digs to begin with, but we have stalled his progress by not giving him enough game time experience … hopefully they can keep him)

  • JohnB

    Troy didn’t even start for our D his first year and he was picked around the same spot in the draft. I’ll give him time before I pass judgment. I like his speed and like said above, if he puts on some muscles, he’ll be a lot more productive. Its not like we have to rush him along this year with Worlids and Woodley out there. The game will slow down for him and we’ll just see where it takes him from there.

  • dkoy85

    I agree that the scheme is frustrating and will need to be changed/simplified next year because the defense will be very young. However, I understand why they stuck with it because they have the guys on the team right now that can run what could arguably the most successful and dominant defensive scheme in a very long time. Hard to throw something as great as that away. I think JJ will bulk up and be more productive next year. Its obvious his lack of strenght is holding him back.

  • Alex Kozora

    I think still generally speaking, teams would prefer to have their players sit and wait. That’s changing in today’s NFL but especially with a complex defensive scheme, it’s still the philosophy to have. And those that do play will have their struggles. Guys like the ones you pointed out may seem to be playing great on the surface but still have their issues to those that follow them every week. I know Hopkins has had some really poor weeks.

    This scheme has been around for a long time. You don’t mess with it. Build players that fit the scheme. And Jones does fit that scheme. He isn’t a finesse rusher. He’s power, he was one of the strongest rushers coming out of college who can hold his own versus the run. Fits the scheme well.

  • Jacob Dixon

    It is annoying how critical everyone has been on jarvis jones he is a rookie behind woodley and worilds

  • DrakePirate

    Not saying JJ won’t turn into a solid starter or trying to be too critical of him, my point was just that I think it is more effective to try and draft plug n play starters for high draft picks (1st/2nd rnds) … thats all, sure Hopkins has had some struggles, but we likely near 1000 yds for his rookie year which is hard to argue with !!!

  • WilliamSekinger

    What you are asking is impossible. There are 0 3-4 OLBs in the College ranks that are a plug and play for Lebeau’s defense. It’s just not possible. Now if you want to get a more physical specimen for the OLB position, you can draft a DE, but a DE will need to learn the OLB position in general, then learn the OLB position in Lebeau’s scheme.

  • WilliamSekinger

    The answer to everyone’s question about why JJ is not what he was billed to be by the Steelers is pretty simple: He is trying not to screw up any of his assignments.

    JJ was probably the most dominant OLB in the College ranks, but he knew the system he was in and anticipated things. This year in the NFL, he has blown several assignments and I’m sure the coaching staff he let him know about it. He is thinking a lot on the field, and is no longer anticipating but is reactionary. When his assignment on any given play starts to become second nature to him is when you will see him anticipate more and the splash plays will come.

  • DrakePirate

    Thats not what I said … I didnt specify positions … especially OLB, what I said was high draft picks need to be more plug-n-play .. which u cant argue with. pick guys that are likely to start or contribute significantly right away … all the guys i have mentioned did and have, that is where the front office makes its money and we do a bad job of it … i really think they will in the future start putting numbers behind the draft picks and start doing a better job of tracking success rates (much like in MLB) and that way GMs will have to be more accountable if they are batting a low avg with their picks !

  • Aric Brown

    I understand what you are saying Drake… Something of the sort that we need help now so pick players that have a higher chance of making an immediate impact… I don’t have an issue with drafting Jones or any other 2 year project (See Cameron Heyward) My problem is our coaches and trainers finely tuning these LBers so they can leave in free agency when their rookie deal is up

  • Aric Brown

    I think the scheme should be changed.. but not because it is too complex.. I think they have switched the scheme a bit to hide our weaknesses instead of basing it on our strengths… I’d like to see a snap count comparison of Brett Keisel vs Polamalu as far as being lined up as a Defensive Lineman

  • Aric Brown

    Another advantage of having guys sit the first year and play situationally the 2nd year is come contract time they don’t have a lot to go off of… That’s why Jarvis Jones got the nod over Jason Worilds in the first place… IMO I think the steelers knew Worilds was their best pass rusher.. they just didn’t want everybody else to know

  • Aric Brown

    I remember having a giant WTF moment when we drafted him(Bell) But he may be the most complete rookie RB of the bunch…. The man is patient well beyond his years, has smooth cuts, decent hands, picks up the blitz, and has a nose for the endzone

  • CrazyTerry

    Troy showed flashes that first year. I don’t see a damn thing from JJ.

  • CrazyTerry

    Thre is a reason why we are impatient with him. He was not just taken in the teens, but he was supposedly this steal and supposedly the one of the main reasons why he slipped from being top 5 pick was because of his spinal coindition. Hell, even if he had perfect health, this guy will be hardpressed to justify a first round selection let alone top 5 status. I thought the SEC had better competition than this. ARe the TE’s in the NFL better than the OLs in the SEC at blocking?

  • DrakePirate

    I wont be disappointed if the guy becomes a solid contributor in a couple years, but as it looks now there were other options in the draft that were more NFL ready and that is what is disappointing.

  • DrakePirate

    completely agree, the guy is the best back we have had in a long time, expecting many great things from him in the years to come.

    And that is my point, I think most of us can agree that he was not only a great pick, but we all see enough to be sure of his success in the future and to be honest the same can not be said for JJ. At this point its a toss up as to whether he will turn out to be a ziggy hood or cam heyward …

  • Bradley Campbell

    Reid would not be a plug and play Safety here. He would not take Clark’s spot. BPA is just fine in MHO. I would have taken him at our pick and would still at this point.

  • DrakePirate

    Reid would surely be starting in place of Clark right now … i don’t know where that comment came from … Clark has been horrendous this year, and Reid has been a beast this year