Jarvis Jones Has Some Wood Chopping Ahead Him During The Offseason

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones didn’t terrorize opposing quarterbacks like many hoped that he would during his first season in the NFL, but he gained valuable playing time that will hopefully help him progress to the next level in 2014. Following what was arguably his best game of the season Sunday in the win over the Cleveland Browns, Jones said he knows what he needs to work on during the offseason and that mostly includes him adding more muscle.

“I need to get stronger, I need to get faster, I need to become a better student of the game, said Jones, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. There’s a lot of stuff I need to work on.”

Jones, who officially registered one sack and 40 combined tackles in 646 snaps played in 2013, led the team in tackles with eight in the season finale. Over the course of the season, the Georgia product appeared to get more comfortable in the Steelers defense as he was reacting more than he was thinking. Still, Jones inability to bullrush effectively on the right side was very noticeable and that is where additional strength will help him moving forward.

The Steelers are notorious for not giving rookie defensive players a lot of playing time, but thanks to a slow start by Jason Worilds on the right side in the season opener, Jones was thrust into the starting right outside linebacker in Week 2 and he went on to start eight games in total.

According to Pro Football Focus, Jones had just two quarterback hits and 25 hurries in his 308 pass rushing opportunities as a rookie and that equates to a lowly 6.9 pass rushing productivity number. While his play against the run was the better part of his game, his 5.1 run stop percentage and 12.5 tackling efficiency number will be expected to improve in 2014.

“You have to work hard for it. You just have to continue to chop wood and that’s what I’ll continue to do,” Jones told the paper.

I, for one, can’t wait to see how often Jones swung the ax during the offseason when the team convenes for their OTA practices in May. It should be noticeable.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Nolrog

    I agree that Jones needs to get bigger and stronger in the off season. Hopefully, the time he got to play this year made him understand how much work he needs to put in.

  • Rick M

    I’m not sure I understand why Jones didn’t put on some muscle between the April 2013 draft and opening day of last season. His lack of strength was so evident in the bench presses at the combine. He had four months before the start of the season and pretty much everyone felt that he would need to bulk up to play in the NFL. Yet he remained pencil-thin for an OLB,

    Someone on this board said that people in the know feel his frame/build doesn’t lend itself to bulking up. I sure hope they are wrong. Good luck in 2014 JJ!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Rick M:

    That size/frame argument is absolutely idiotic! No such thing! Anyone on the planet can get stronger unless they have an ailment that stops them. If he does not improve this off season, then there can only be one reason: The spinal stenosis is worse than the Steelers brass imagined.

    Let’s hope not.

  • Callentown

    I think Jarvis did okay for his first year and I do believe that he will be a force in the future.

    Remember it took Troy three years to look good.

  • Alan Felicia

    Correction, Polamalu became a All-Pro his second year. 2004 Season: 96 tackles, 1 sack, 1 FF, 10 Pass deflections, 5 INTs (including a TD return).

  • HopalongCassidy

    I think those people in the know knew what they were talking about. I fear that if Jones puts on weight, a lot of it will be around the waistline and below and he’ll get slower. I hope I am wrong because I do think he has some skills.

  • Bill Molinaro

    Jarvis seems to have a handle on what he has to do; lets all hope he does it because the talent for hard work is 90% of the talent that the greats have.

  • DrakePirate

    i dont think it will be a problem for him to gain a solid 10-20 lbs … its not a big deal about his frame (we are really not talking about a lot of weight & he can add a lot of strength with little weight gain as well … his Bench and Weight Room numbers were really poor) he was never much of a workout warrior at Georgia so if he puts in the time and effort he should have some dramatic increases in both size and strength … its all up to him !

  • r4kolb

    There is a reason Harrison was cut and didn’t bloom out the gate. You have to remember these men are young and are just coming into there prime of manhood. Look at Harrison’s body in his first year then look at him in his prime. With proper nutrition and workout and commitment Jones will be a beast!

  • kakello34

    I know he’ll get stronger with the strength coaching and equipment he has access to. Look how much bigger Worilds looks compared to his rookie year and that has turned him into a double digit sacks per year linebacker now when playing a full season

  • dgh57

    There were a lot of complaints about Timmons in his first year and now look at him. The part that concerns me though is, we got Timmons when he was like 20 or 21 years old whereas JJ is already 24 and still needs to develop.

  • r4kolb

    Wow. I didn’t realize he was 24. Better chop down a forest. Time is ticking away.

  • dgh57

    Better chop down a forest of Redwood trees and hurry at the same time. LOL!!!

  • r4kolb

    The more I sit back and look at this team I see no way they don’t go Defense with most of their picks. Think about it. We are losing a D lineman (Da Beard) an outside LB (Worilds) a Free Safety (Clark) possibly a Corner (Ike) a Safety (Troy) then add in the lack of depth behind them if they all go and now everyone moves up a notch the depth becomes really thin. Wow we very well could go 8-8 next year.

  • kakello34

    That’s why I always hope they can draft a junior in the 1st round every year. I think Jones was a junior but he was in college for 4 years because he transferred. I would never do what the Eagles did a couple years ago and draft a 28 year old in the 1st round.

  • dgh57

    I think Troy and Ike will be back next year and they draft a stud CB within the top 2 picks and maybe replace Clark with a FA or draft pick. That will make the transition a little smoother. I agree though that Defense is the way to go with a WR/TE mixed in there somewhere.

  • Jay Jaber

    or the browns with Brandon weedon lol

  • r4kolb

    Being Tomlin for some reason seems to like Will Allen I see him maybe replacing Clark. Or they move Ike to FS and start Gay and Cortez Allen at CB. But yes they will still need to add depth. I know some say they will draft a RB later in the draft but I think they will go with Bell, Dwyer and pick up a cheap free agent back. Heck who knows maybe they invite Redman to camp. I still see them possibly trading down to get more picks if the right deal would come along which to me would be the way to go unless someone who could step in and have an immediate impact somewhere falls to us. Also, and I know those who think I “hate” Tomlin will think I’m saying this to just take a shot at him, but that blunder if it in fact does cost us a pick is going to hurt. Who knows maybe the NFL will give us a pass being we potentially got robbed out of making the playoffs.

  • Steve

    Did you guys forget about Shark playing Safety?

  • r4kolb

    Good point.

  • dgh57

    Thanks for the reminder! I don’t know how I seemed to forget about him since I was very happy when they announced his name as one of our picks. Lack of playing time, I guess.

  • Guest

    Hope adding more muscle/weight will not slow him down because I don’t know if be the effective if he looses the athleticism he has. He is not the fastest guy on the field as it is ;)

  • dgh57

    It’s going to be a interesting but long off season. If they start off by making a few cuts that looks like their trying to clear cap space I’ll be thinking they’re making room to sign Worilds before FA starts. If not then OLB might be right up there with a CB as a priority in the draft. I forgot about Shark but a Safety still should be drafted to be Troy’s replacement down the road.

  • Jazz

    Rick, I agree with you 1000%!! This goes back to what many scouts said about this kid coming out of college last year, he is lazy and does not practice well, nor does he put in the extra time to get better. That’s the main reason I was disgusted when they selected that kid last April with the 17th pick. The Steelers could have easily gotten him late in the 1st early 2nd. From what I read around the league last year, GM’s were not only afraid of his previous health issues he sustained in college (something to due with his spinal cord), but they were even more afraid of how weak he was at the combine. Just goes to show you how poor of a job Mike Tomlin has done with his draft picks. I’m not excusing Colbert either, the both of them are to blame for the sub-par selections they have made since Tomlin was hired. A #1 draft pick (#17) should have paid better dividends than he did last year. And I’m so sick and tired of hearing this crap how difficult LeBeau’s Defense is; if it’s that dificult, simplify it already!!! How come other teams rookies contribute far better than the Steelers? Why waiste a #1 draft pick on these guys, train them for four years, then get 1yr of production out of them, then lose them to Free Agency? I’m no expert, GM/Coach, but even I can see how dumb that is.

  • r4kolb

    I think Shark is Troy’s replacement. FS is what they will need to replace through draft or FA. The thing that scares me with Worilds is that this is the only year he really has done anything. Also he only produced when he was moved to left side. Which due to the fact Woodley has that massive contract, of most which would be dead money, I’m not sure what direction to go there. It is going to be interesting as to what they decide there do to the lack of cap space. Plus lets not forget Ben is going to have to be redone soon too and I don’t think he is going to give a hometown discount so he will be a big cost coming soon. I know the season just ended but can’t wait to see what Dave thinks of what will be done.

  • David Edward

    Unfortunately, JJ played just about how I expected him to this year. I was open about my opinion prior to and after the draft that he wasn’t a great pick. Basically, all of the concerns I had about him showed. His lack of strength was obvious. He often seemed a step slow (remember the 4.9 forty). He had trouble keeping contain on the outside. I still wonder what it was that Colbert saw that made him one of the few “special” players in the draft. JJ does seem like a nice, well-spoken kid so maybe it was that? Anyway, I still root for JJ to do well and prove me wrong. If he does his due this offseason, he should have a good chance.

    An interesting thing is that some of the other OLBs they brought in had similar or better years than JJ. Jamie Collins went to the Pats in 2nd a few picks behind Leveon Bell. He had 38 tackles a few PDs and no sacks. Sio Moore went early 3rd to Raiders and had 4.5 sacks and 46 tackles. Khaseem Greene went two picks after Landry Jones to da Bears and had 27 tackles 1 INT, an FF and PD. I know he may be more of a 43 LB but he offered some versatility to play the cover ILB as well as OLB in the 34 and nickel. Would’ve much rather had him than Landry Jones with that pick.

  • dgh57

    Yes, Shark is Troy’s replacement but since Clark needs replacing first I figured he could replace Clark in 2014 and then Troy in 2015. I’m just trying out different possibilities with Worilds as they may very well decide to not take a chance on Worilds considering how things have gone with Woodley. Pouncey is another guy that they may need to resign also.

  • 20Stoney

    The thing that disappointed me is that he was supposed to be a great pass rusher, but not only does he lack strength, he lacks pass rush moves. I do think he will work. He seems to play with a high motor, but he really wasn’t close to being ready to play this year. Which makes me wonder why he was handed the starting job over Worilds.

  • Johnny Loose

    “I just have to continue to chop the Wood…” No pun intended I’m sure, lol

  • pittsburghjoe

    With his size, he may be 2 years away. I think he will show some improvement next year. But, I dont he will be able to grow enough in one year.

  • Rick M

    I agree with the Dick LeBeau ‘complex defence’ crap. There are all sorts of Dick LeBeau disciples as Defensive Coordinators around the NFL and they seem to get first-year players inserted and productive. Back in the days when the team was deep in talent, I could understand first-year players not getting on the field. Now – with far less first-string talent – it’s because they’re usually not good enough, not the complex system.

    I also agree with wasting draft picks by not getting them started early enough. I really would be a lot more comfortable with this defence going forward had they found out much earlier that Keenan Lewis could play and had signed him before he became a free agent.

    I’m in the minority, but Ta’amu’s release without playing a single regular season down is annoying. The guy logged all sorts of snaps in Arizona on one of the best defences in the NFL, and we ditch him for a guy who is on his third NFL team. Totally ridiculous in my mind.

  • Robert Alaniz

    If he was lazy and didnt practice well, he would’nt have started out the season ahead of a guy like Worilds who has 3 years into this system. To regurgitate a comment made before the draft like that is absolutely ridiculous.

    He is already 245 lbs. he puts on just 10 pounds and he is 255 which he can do easily. How heavy do we want him guys? You want a 265 to 270 OLB?

    You keep putting his forty time up like you know what you;re talking about. He isnt a DB. He is explosive between 10 to 20 yards which is where most of his damage will be done anyway.

    Again, he is not meant to be chasing people all the way down the field as his position is to attack in a smaller space, set the edge and bat down passes which he is getting better at.

    You can see his explosive play potential ( in just his first year) when he reacts and isnt thinking to much.

    I find it funny, that you’re all over Worilds when he finally performs after being hurt a lot as he was to end this year AGAIN. You’re just raring to go to pay a guy possibly to much for performing 3/4 of a year out of three plus years and has an injury history. Yet, you’re ready to jump all over a rookie who normally isn’t even in there at that position anyway this early in his career.

    I’m glad the Einsteins are in the recliner and not making the decisions for this franchise. smh

  • Rick M

    Jones dropping to 17 concerned me. Obviously 16 teams looked at his college production and said it wouldn’t translate to the pros given his lack of strength. But Colbert, for whatever reason, went on record as saying he was one of only a handful of “difference makers” in the draft and he was an easy pick. So far the other 16 teams appear right, but we’ll see whether he truly can add the strength and the necessary pass rushing moves. As for the Landry Jones pick, don’t even get me started.

  • pittsburghjoe

    Rick, what if he does not have the frame to put the added weight on? Some have said he has the body of a safety.

  • pittsburghjoe

    you cant put it on if the frame is not there…

  • mlc43

    Nice rant! Simplify a Defense that has done exceptionally well the last decade so rookies can start faster. I understand your concerns with JJ but you do yourself no favors by making statements like that.

  • Bob Graff

    This is a failed pick so far. The NFL is not a training grounds for players especially first rd draft choices. If he needs as much work as it appears then he is a project player at best and should be treated that way. Do the Steelers really have the time to prove this wasn’t a mistake , maybe but for the sake of the team don’t throw money at this mistake.

  • Bob Graff

    Harrison body in his first year was unbelievable, that’s when the whole team was calling him silver back and he was only a special teams player. He was 6’0” 250 lbs and could throw anyone around. He could have played right then but we had Joey Porter. You are confusing a Steeler team from ten years ago that Jones wouldn’t make if he were an undrafted free agent we were loading with talent.

  • Rick M

    I don’t know Joe. I guess he would be in trouble because there’s no way he’s strong enough now to be an effective OLB in a 3-4 defence.

    I tend to agree with the comments that anyone can add muscle, especially a guy who is 6′ 2″. I hadn’t read before that scouts felt he was lazy in the weight room at Georgia. He better not be lazy this winter if he wants any chance to be a good NFL player. Cheers.

  • pittsburghjoe

    I think 10-20 is very realistic. I think I just did that over the Christmas. It has not affected my speed to the cookie jar either.

  • Kick

    Let woodley go and draft another OLB

  • PA2AK

    What the f—ing f—?! Better yet, he needs to put down the subway and go park his behind at the golden corral and become a lineman. Yeah, that’s a great thought. Maybe he can throw the ball too? Never know right?

  • Jazz

    That was just a figure of speech mlc43; if our scheme is so great, how come they have such a hard time defeating Quality QB’s? Go back and look at the Steelers victories, LeBeau’s scheme works well against inexperience QB’s, not so well against season veteran QB’s. Simplify the Defense? Why make the scheme so difficult to were it takes a rookie 3 Damm years to learn it, then in year 4 when he picks up the Damm Defense, he walks as a Free Agent? That was the point I was trying to get across. Makes no sense to me. Coaching and Front Office Decision Making Process is Terrible! They don’t resign Keenan Lewis, but they keep a tired A$$ Veteran like Ike Taylor who has seen his better days. They stuck with Ryan Clark when it was clear he had already became an analyst for ESPN. What has worked in the past has been great, but there is nothing wrong with a little change every now and then.

  • Jazz

    Come On Man! The only reason he started over Worilds is because the Damm Coaching staff doesn’t know who can do what. Worilds is a much better player on the Left than the right. Jason Worilds excelled when Mike Tomlin and LeBeau finally figured out what he could actually do. Granted, Worilds has been injury prone, I give you that. But it seems like when these guys make a simple mistake, Tomlin tries to prove a point by benching them to quickly. Hey Mike! Maybe the Rooney’s should bench your A$$ for that goof you made on National TV on Thanksgiving Night. Jarvis Jones at this point shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same sentence with Jason Worilds. I’m not saying he will not eventually be a great player, but for now, JJ has a long ways to go.

  • mlc43

    I don’t disagree with you on some of your points. However, you should say what you mean. If you think it should be simplified then stick with that. Don’t call a statement a “figure of speech.” I think too much was expected from JJ this year by the fans. Did I love the pick? No, I didn’t. I am going to give him some more time to see, though. I do agree with you that we’ve let too many young, good players walk while holding on to declining vets. Some of that wasn’t smart. We do need to improve in our FO decision making but I’m not gonna push the panic button yet.

  • Jazz

    Simplifying the Defense so rookies can actually paly wouldn’t be a bad idea. I do think it’s possible to simplify the defense without playing a Prevent Defense. I do stand by what I was trying to say though; if the current scheme is so difficult for rookies to grasp, why not simplify it some what so they can at least see the field. When I look at other teams around the league, San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, Arizona, and Carolina, those teams have a pretty good defensive squad. Yet you always see Rookies contributing day 1.

  • Robert Alaniz

    He’s a first rounder at OLB that normally wouldnt even touch the field yet Bob. Move along please.

  • Robert Alaniz

    Finally figured out what he could do? You mean when he wasn’t injured or just not showing it in practice?

    Jason has been on this team for four years, you comparing someone that knows the system to someone that is learning is apples to oranges and who ended the season injured again by the way?