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Jarvis Jones Finishes Off The Year On A Positive Note


By Matthew Marczi

Depending on how the offseason goes, the Pittsburgh Steelers could certainly be relying on Jarvis Jones to start at outside linebacker in his second season next year—which would make sense, given the investment the team has placed in him.

With the injuries to LaMarr Woodley over the course of the second half of the season, Jones has gotten more playing time than anticipated, and he ended up starting the last game of the season.

It is in my estimation that he showed some growth in his final game of the year in comparison to where he started out, though he knows as well as any the work ahead of him to get to the level the Steelers need him to attain next year.

Jones got his day started off early, making an impact on the second play of the game when he sniffed out a screen pass and dropped the receiver for a two-yard loss to set up a third and long. Jones dropped in coverage on third down but left his post to pressure Jason Campbell into an incompletion to force the Browns to punt.

In fact, Jones had a career-high nine tackles in the season finale as he routinely helped rope down a runner that managed to leak into the second level. That was the case here on this run by Edwin Baker, doing a good job of getting free of the block of tight end Jordan Cameron to make the tackle.

Though the Steelers allowed a first down on this third and one carry by Baker, Jones still had a fine showing on the play, freeing himself of the block of the pulling right guard to wrap up the back after a short gain.

Jones has also made strides in his play out in space, as the Steelers continue to drop him into coverage more and more frequently. His pass deflection here in front of Josh Gordon shows a better sense of spatial awareness than he possessed earlier in the season, which helped get him benched.

Needless to say, Jones is still by no means a finished product. While he has progressed some in his pass rush, he still has a tendency to allow himself to be walked up the arc. His assignment discipline can also lapse at times, but he has clearly gotten the hang of the defense for the most part.

Most importantly, however, he has gradually come to play faster and more instinctively over the year. He must continue to build on that as he heads into the offseason and prepares for possibly a starting role in 2014.

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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.
  • steeltown

    In the end, this guy was a rookie and would normally had not even seen the field except on special teams, especially with the way Worilds has been playing, but thanks to Woodley he received tons invaluable in-game experience. He should only be stronger and play faster next year. Im excited to see him and Wheaton in their 2nd seasons

  • Bernie B Roten

    I like what I saw from Jones. He can be a solid rotation guy for a long time.

  • Jason

    For a first round pick he better be a lot more than a solid rotation guy. Steelers first round pick at OLB better be multiple time pro bowler or it’s a bad pick. He’s shown flashes. Next year the consistency needs to improve.

  • WilliamSekinger

    1st round pick = multiple time pro bowler…That’s the standard for all Steeler 1st rounds pick huh? No wonder Steelers fans are considered spoiled.

  • srdan

    I agree with you, we have come to expect a lot out of our players, and that is a good thing. JJ is a playmaker, he just needs to be more comfortable. I think year one to two is the biggest change in players. Like steeltown says, under normal circumstances he would have been a depth player this year.

    We had these disappointing conversations after troy’s rookie year.

  • Douglas Andrews

    I’m looking for a huge improvement from JJ in year 2. I remember Troy’s rookie season and everyone was ready to label him a 1st round bust. This year Jarvis got some valuable playing time enough so that he knows already what he needs to work on. If we lock up Worilds which I expect us to and if they don’t cut Woodley we should have a nice LB corps next year. An added bonus is we wouldn’t have to count on Woodley staying healthy with 3 OLB rotation.

  • Jason

    If you’re ok with a first round pick at an area of need at the time becoming a “solid rotational guy” then that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it but don’t call me spoiled because I think a first round OLB on a team that counts on that position to be productive should produce at a high level. I’m in no way giving up on Jones but if he isn’t eventually playing at a big time level it’s a disappointment in my opinion.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    If you look at that 3rd gif, I expect next year he will completely slip that block and make the play in the backfield. He is going to make some serious progress in this offseason an by next year….we are going to love this kid.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Woodley, Worilds and J. Jones is not financially feasible…look for Woodley to be released and Worilds resigned and becomes the LOLB next year.

    On JJ…the not always knowing where to be problems I expected…the big hit vs CJ in his 1st game I expected a little more of…to be honest he was no match vs many of the OTs he faced so I’m not 100% sure if he’s in the right system yet.

  • Chris

    For a 1st rd pick playing OLB for the Steelers, anything les than 7 sacks per year minimum would be considered not getting enough production for the pick. Realistically, by year 3 he should be at 9-10 sacks per year to be considered a successful value for the pick. He can play the run and coverage well but he was drafted to rush the QB and ultimately sacks & pressures are what will determine his value vs his draft spot.

  • WilliamSekinger

    Now this statement, I can relate to. I disagree that Jarvis need to do anything more than he did in his rookie year. He was darn luck to even see the field, so I’m not sure where your impatience is coming from. BTW, I wasn’t calling you spoiled personally, I don’t even know you. I was lamenting the fact the Steelers fans are called spoiled, and with over the top statements like the one posted above I can see why.

  • mlc43

    Do you understand the financial ramifications of releasing Woodley this year? It’s not as simple as you think.

  • Jason

    I’m not sure what part of my statement was over the top. My numbers could be off but Gildon 3 pro bowls Porter 4 Harrison at least 4 Woodley multiple. And I don’t believe any came in with the expectations Jones has as a first round pick fair or unfair. I don’t think ALL first rounders have the expectations I mentioned but anyone who says they don’t or didn’t expect it from Jones is probably not being truthful. And I also never said anything to imply impatience, I even stated “I’m in no way giving up on Jones.” I was simply responding to a poster who said he thinks Jones could be a solid rotational guy when he certainly wasn’t drafted to be that. I have high confidence that he will be a big time player down the road.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Not entirely, but OAK carried $49 mil in dead money LY and they still beat us.

  • mlc43

    Okay, they beat us. That’s not a very good case for carrying all that dead money. I mean, they did beat us, but they also only won 4 games.

  • Jason

    He’s Really Dead Money Whether He Plays Or Not. lol

  • greeny

    There is no example above showing a solid bull rush against Joe Thomas. If there is a GIF showing him putting pressure on the QB against an all pro OT than I would say he is going to be good. Most bull rushes I saw from this year resulted in the OT not even moving. Gaining a solid 25 pounds of muscle would get me a little more excited.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I understand that it will be financially painful to cut Woodley this year…but he doesn’t have the legs to play OLB anymore…are we to just keep him and allow Worilds to leave because of his contract? Double Jeopardy imo…he can’t play and we lose the guy to replace him by keeping the guy that can’t play.

    Cut your losses now.

  • Lucus Rodriguez

    MOST drafted players on the defense don’t even play their first year, so your assessment is a little off.

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