For New Steelers Coach Joey Porter, Pass Rushing Starts With Belief

If the Pittsburgh Steelers defense expects their secondary to improve in 2014, they will have to first get considerable improvement from their pass rush. That means second-year right outside linebacker Jarvis Jones has to do a better job of getting after the quarterback than he did during his rookie season.

In order to get the most out of Jones and the other outside linebackers on the roster the Steelers hired former outside linebacker Joey Porter to the staff as a defensive assistant during the offseason. Porter, who registered 98 sacks during his long career, has a few basic beliefs that he thinks will help with the pass rush in 2014.

“Pass rushing is all in believing that you can beat the guy (across from you) and executing your craft,” Porter said, according to the Associated Press . “You have to work at it. You can’t just go out and not do any pass-rushing stuff during the week and expect to go out there and get a sack on Sunday.”

Jones and the other linebackers won’t be able work extensively on beating the man across from them until training camp starts, so in the meantime a lot of focus during the pad-less offseason practices has been placed on Porter going over with his group what he has observed while watching their tape from last season.

“I’ve been learning different techniques, hand placement, feet placement and just different things that you can do within the defense that allow you to make plays,” said Jones, who registered all of one sack as a rookie.

Porter said last week that he believes Jones is taking in all of the knowledge that he is trying to impart to him very well.

“I don’t have to say, ‘Man, you have to do this.’ He’s a good student and wants to learn the game,” Porter said. “Like I tell him all the time, ‘You put in the work, and I’m going to be here for you. I played the position, (so) soak up all the knowledge I have like a sponge, and I’ll keep giving it to you.’ ”

One thing that Jones lacks that Porter had during his career is emotion. Over the course of the last four weeks the Georgia product has seen first-hand that his new mentor coaches just like plays.

“I’m going to coach the way I played: with my emotions. I love to get after it,” Porter said. “They know me, so I don’t have to change.”

Last season Porter was a graduate assistant coach at his alma mater Colorado State and his impact was felt immediately. In fact, then-senior outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett posted 12.0 sacks in 2013 and set a Mountain West record with 20.5 tackles for loss en route to winning MW Defensive Player of the Year honors.

If Jones can register 12 or more sacks in 2014 it will go a long way in helping turn around the Steelers defense. In fact, it would be the most sacks registered by a Steelers defensive player since LaMarr Woodley notched 13.5 of them back in 2009. Jones, however, isn’t ready to make those kind of predictions just yet.

“Nah, man, we’re not going to make any assumptions,” he said. “We’re going to play and continue to work and continue to take it one day at a time. That’s what I’m going to focus on during the rest of this offseason and just try to get better every day to get ready for training camp.”

  • Matt Manzo

    What does “hired as assistant for the off season” mean? Is he not gonna be coaching for us in the regular season?

  • steeltown

    I think it’s just saying that he was hired during the offseason

  • 2443scott

    to bad we cant hypnotizes the steeler lbers into believeing their joey ..can you imagine all the trash talking…the memories of yesteryear

  • Matt Manzo

    Oh, good! That scared me!

  • Matt Manzo

    I totally read it wrong!

  • I wish these young OLBs would become nasty. I think a combo of Joey Porter and James Harrison would leave them no choice. Sign DEEBO!!!

  • Steve

    Signing James would be taking time away from Jones. Took James years to learn his craft, look how many times he was cut. Give Jones a chance.

  • Virdin Barzey

    I don’t believe everybody has to be nasty to be great. Look at Polamalu, Aaron Smith, even Timmons. Jones need to be a playmaker. Game changing plays and doing it alot and bring it every play.

    I like the kid and if he plays physical rather than finesse, he will be a great one. I’ve said it before, his only issue will be strength. He seem to get it upstairs but it means nothing if he can’t get it in the game.

    Make no mistake….Jones play is the key to this defense being great.

  • treeher

    The “kid” is already 25 (in October). He needs to grow up fast and produce.

  • StarSpangledSteeler

    I really really REALLY like this quote by Porter. I think a lot of what our defense has been missing is attitude. I think Porter can help this team a lot.

  • You need to go reread the second paragraph buddy.

  • I’m talking about James as a backup. I see him as a great depth signing for the season and would provide much needed insurance if anything were to happen. As far as Giving Jarvis a chance, I named my cat after him lol. When I said “become nasty” I meant develop a mean streak, I wasn’t talking about him learning his craft.

  • Steve

    Can always bring James in should someone go down. Think it would be detrimental towards development of a young guy if they brought James in too soon. Remember also the young LB will probably play special teams.

  • charles

    Porter seems to be taking the same angle that Carnell Lake took to coaching: know thine enemy. Each week the lb corp will be newly prepared for the next opponent. Can’t say it enough, the Steelers made very very good offseason acquisitions: Munchak, Porter, and Saxon. Bye bye John.

  • IckyD

    And you need to go back and re-read “How Not To Be An Obnoxious Poop-Stick” buddy.

  • walter mason

    I say play the best player available. Maybe we are rushing Jones.

  • joed32

    I wonder if James would even want to be a backup?