The addition of former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter to the coaching staff on Tuesday certainly came out of the blue and if the mere reason he was hired is to help get the most out of outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, I applaud it.
Jones, who the Steelers selected in the first-round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Georgia, had a pretty uneventful rookie season in Pittsburgh when you consider how much playing time he received. In total, he registered a dismal 6.9 pass rushing productivity number in 298 pass rushing snaps, according to Pro Football Focus.
Porter and Jones are polar opposites when it comes to their personalities. During his 13 years in the NFL, of which the first eight were played in Pittsburgh, Porter was as emotional of a player that you will ever see. He was bold and brash, and more importantly he backed it up. Jones, on the other hand, is currently more of a laid back player full of potential.
Originally drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 1999 NFL Draft out of Colorado State, Porter registered10.5 sacks in 2000, his first full season as a starter. He would go on to register 98 regular-season sacks over the course of his career and was the face of the Steelers defense for several seasons.
So what about Porter as a coach? Being a great player is one thing, but being able to teach other players how to be great is another.
In his one season as an undergraduate student coaching assistant at his alma mater, the Rams defense registered 32 sacks which was 12 more than they had the season prior. In addition, Rams senior outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett recorded 12 sacks in 2013 and set a conference record with 20.5 tackles for loss en route to being named Defensive Player of the Year of the Mountain West Conference.
“That is exactly why I got into coaching, being hands-on with the outside ‘backers—Shaq (Barrett), Cory (James), Steve-O (Michel), Danny (Nwosu), Bryan (Ohene)—all the guys I worked with, just having an effect on their lives and helping them get better is why you coach,” Porter told the CSU website. “Just the little things were the biggest enjoyment I got out of it.
“In addition to the team success and the bowl game, honestly the moments I had to work with Shaq and watching him play, that goes a long way for me. I know it was a short time I was there, but I think I got more out of it than they did. What they did for me solidified for me that it was the right choice to get into coaching.”
I advise all of you to remember the name of Barrett, who will certainly be on the Steelers radar in the 2014 NFL Draft. He hasn’t been invited to the 2014 scouting combine, but due to Porter knowing all about him, you can bet the Steelers will have representation at his Pro Day.
As for Jones, he already knows that he must get stronger during the offseason and work on developing more counter moves in addition to a solid bull rush to go along with his ability to rush off of the edge. You can now expect that Porter will push him every step of the way and hopefully some his personality will rub off on the youngster in the process.
The Steelers pass rush as been pretty non-existent for the last three seasons and that’s something that Porter probably can’t fathom. Yes, Porter is back riding with the Steelers once again and Jones will be riding shotgun with the rest of the Steelers linebackers all in tow.
“When we play with a chip on our shoulder and play mad, that’s when we play our best football. We play our best football when we’re ticked off,” Porter said following the Steelers playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts in 2006.
That’s the same type of chip that Jones needs on his shoulder and Porter will either put there or up his rear-end.