Jarvis Jones Reflects On His Rookie Season And Looks Ahead To Next Season

According to Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert, outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was one of those special players in a draft that when you have a chance to take you run up to the podium to get the pick in before something goes wrong.

But Jones would be the first to tell you that he didn’t play much like a special player at all during his rookie season, and he’s looking to fix that in year two.

He spoke to the team’s website yesterday about the difficulties of his rookie season and what it’s like for rookies coming into the NFL, in addition to talking about what he intends to do to become a better player this offseason.

“We come in here every week and have to learn what we are doing and then you have to learn what the opposing team is doing,” said Jones of the biggest adjustment as a rookie. “It’s a lot of information. It’s hard for a rookie. The mental stage is what gets us. There is so much to learn. People expect a lot out of you, they want you to do a lot and be productive. It’s a process for the rookies.

“There was a lot of mental growth. People don’t see the mental part of the game on this level. They just see the physical part, the big hits, guys outmuscling each other, but the mental part is so much tougher to grasp.”

It’s a struggle for every rookie to adjust to playing against other professionals and leading a professional life both on and off the field. You’re in a new environment surrounded by all new people, likely speaking a different language as far as play calling and scheme goes.

But now that Jones has gotten a taste of life in the professional ranks, he’s ready to attack the offseason to become a better player and get past a trying rookie season, about which he expressed disappointment in his lone sack:

There were a lot of sacks out there I was capable of making that I didn’t make. Those are the small details of this game of football. It’s a game of inches. I was disappointed. It drives me and will be motivation for this offseason.

He also discussed his plans for the offseason and how he’s looking to build off what he did manage to do well in his first season:

“There is always room for improvement,” said Jones. “As much as you can learn, you have to take advantage of the offseason, know what to expect, prepare for. Taking advantage of the offseason, going over the things I need to learn. This offseason will be great for me to continue to learn the playbook and ask questions.

“I want to work on physical conditioning, building strength. The mental part I want to become a student of the game. I don’t want to go out there and just play, but understand the game of football as far as formations and tendencies. This offseason I want to hone in on the mental part of the game so when game time comes I can look at the formation and know what’s going on and not wait for somebody to tell me. It will help me play faster.”

These are certainly the things that fans and coaches alike want to hear out of Jones, the 17th overall pick from a year ago. Strength was definitely a problem for him last season, particularly in the pass rushing game, where too many times he would be easily pushed up the arc. With greater strength and better understanding of tendencies, he should come into next season with more counters and not be so easily taken out of the rush.

His desire to intuit formations and tendencies is also critical in his ability to be an impact player. The less you have to think on the field, the quicker you can play and react. Jones has the potential to be a dynamic and impactful player, and we saw glimmers of that during his rookie year. It seemed to be on an upward trend as the season ended, so he needs to pick up where he left off last year.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • Paddy

    He sounds as if he hasn’t started, and this was from yesterday? Better get going Jarvis, the team expects you to eventually be a starter this year

  • Weiss Chad

    Go work out w ziggy..Just don’t play like him

  • Steelers12328882

    I was just listening to the Dave-Te Thomas interview from last year, and his thoughts on Jarvis Jones. I was surprised to hear he didn’t think he was a fit for the Steelers locker room. He was emphasizing that the Steelers needed to replace some locker room leadership, like the loss of James Farrior, but he said Jones doesn’t take preparation serious enough, jokes around too much, and only shows up on game day.

  • dkoy85

    Sounds like he learned a valuable lesson last year.

  • steeltown

    How so, basically everything he said is based off of actually getting out there and playing as a rookie..also the above article doesn’t include the entire interview, he goes on to speak about going head to head with Joe Thomas and praised him for his technique and knowledge of the game.

  • srdan

    I wouldn’t take everything that guy says as gospel.

  • srdan

    I agree with you. Seems like he is using a future tense instead of a present and past. The offseason is halfway.

  • Steelers12328882

    Yep, I think so. Sounds like Jones realized that this is his profession, it’s time to get serious and that he’s passionate about getting better.

  • Steelers12328882

    I would hope that you wouldn’t.

  • srdan

    It seems like youre picking up what he is putting down.

  • dkoy85

    Agreed. In the interview he talked about learning about the greatness of Steelers LB’s too.

    I liked the way he played towards the end of the year, and he has a quick burst(just watch him blow up CJ2K in the backfield-even though he was unblocked). His scouting report out of college talked about how he is able to distinguish between running and passing plays fast. I think we saw that the end of the year, especially against the Browns, which shows me the game has slowed a bit for him. Now if he can bulk up and get stronger while keeping his speed we should see him in the backfield and in tackles more this year. I expect him to be improved this year in the running game, and hopefully in pass rush.

  • Steelers12328882

    You know what they say about people that assume… I actually don’t like the profiles he does on this site(much prefer Alex Kozora’s scouting reports), but I did enjoy the podcast he did with Dave the other day, so I decided to search last years and see what he had to say. I was surprised to hear what he said about Jarvis, and thought it fit this article well.

  • Geoff Cordner

    Talk about a pivotal player for the Steelers. If Jarvis doesn’t take that step, who replaces him? Scary thought…

  • frednash

    I’m sure Joey has influenced him already

    nobody out spoke Porter!

  • PA2AK

    Probably reading a little to much into his comments. He wasn’t a linguistics major.

  • srdan


  • Paddy

    Joey can’t speak to any players about anything football related. NFLPA rule

  • dgh57

    That’s why we draft a OLB in this draft in case he doesn’t take that next step.

  • srdan

    Can you have a code word for football? Kind of like when you talk about sex in front of kids. My ex and I used to call it fishing…lol

  • dkoy85

    I dislike that rule…

  • Kyle Owens


  • Justin Barlow

    I for one am excited about the kid. Everyone is afraid that our defense is doomed if he doesnt produce, and theyre losing sight of his skills. The kid is explosive, instinctive, and knows how to use his hands to beat blocks. The plays he made at Georgia are plays that kids in college simply dont make. Polomalu had the sam problems as a rookie and was a pro bowler by season two.

    I am convinced we will see the same from Jones. The guy is a playmaker.

  • Kyle Owens

    As soon as I read Dave-Te I stopped reading…

  • cp72

    People were calling him Troy Bustamalu after his first season. Hard to believe now.

    JJ has skills you can see it. He may not be 40 yard dash fast but he has excellent atlethisim. He’s going to be much better this year. I am predicting 7-10 sacks.

    Peezy can show him a few tricks of the trade and what ot takes to be a pro…then watch the sacks start coming.

  • srdan

    People often misunderstand the 40 yard dash, I am not saying you. It’s not only a measure of how fast a player is in a straight line for 40 yards, but also it is a pretty good indicator of explosiveness.

    It’s hard to say this, but last year seems like a fluke. For someone to be on the field as much as he was and only get one sack almost takes an extraordinary situation. I mean, even scrubs pick up a garbage sack here and there.

  • Andrew

    Jarvis is a locker room leader but he can’t exactly mentor teammates as a rookie. At UGA he was known as Uncle Jarvis to his team. Partly due to his age, but also because of his leadership. Both defensive and offensive players followed his lead. He will be fine. He’s in the same personality mold as Lawrence Timmons. Not flashy with celebrations, not brash, and definitely not one to play around as to draw attention to himself. They both simply get the job done.

  • Justin Barlow

    Id call 7-10 a very low floor. I see 12plus with multiple forced fumbles. Once he starts getting the jump on the ball and uses his hands confidently, hes going to be unblockable. The tandem is set with him and Worlids. If Cortez Allen can regain his late 2012 form this defense will be fine.

  • PA2AK

    I think people need to realize what expectations many had for him (i.e. all-pro, wrecking house, first ballot HOF after his rookie year). I think the coaching staff made a mistake of promoting him too soon. If people weren’t expecting the second coming and if he was a back-up…bust wouldn’t be in the conversation. We have had plenty of All-Pro caliber players that didn’t touch much more than ST their rookie years.