Steelers vs Eagles Film Review: Jarvis Jones

There seems to be no shortage of criticism for the Pittsburgh Steelersother recent linebacker drafted in the first round, Jarvis Jones. The second-year edge rusher is coming off a frustrating rookie season that he’s understandably sick of talking about, hoping that experience and strength training would lead to a more productive year two.

Jones was able to flash some in the Steelers’ preseason opener, including a sack using a nifty inside move on the left tackle, but he had to sit out the second preseason game with a groin injury. That groin got a workout against the up-tempo offense of Chip Kelly and the Philadelphia Eagles last Thursday.

While he certainly did not have a great game, nobody on the defense did, and I might go so far as to argue that Jones had one of the better performances of the night for the unit. He had his ups and downs, of course, but it was far from the disheartening display some seemed to find it.

Jones’ run defense in particular held up well for the most part. On the early tackle by Lawrence Timmons for a five-yard loss that helped stop the Eagles’ first drive, for example, it was in part Jones preserving his gap that allowed the inside linebacker’s penetration.

On the Eagles’ second drive, LeSean McCoy was able to cut back for a big gain, but it was Jones bowling tight end Brent Celek into the running back’s face that made him cut back upfield in the first place. That the left side of the defense failed to contain the backside is not his fault.

Later on in the drive, the Eagles’ other tight end, Zach Ertz struggled to absorb his bull rush. Combined with the pressure on the other side from Jason Worilds, quarterback Nick Foles was forced to try to rush his throw. Worilds got a hand on the quarterback’s arm, and Jones wrapped him up and took him to the ground on the incompletion.

The drive ended seemingly with a blown assignment and slow reaction from Jones leading to a 23-yard touchdown reception on a running back screen, but it’s difficult to determine who is truly at fault. The Eagles set up in a shotgun alignment with a wing back on either side of Foles.

Jones appeared to be shadowing Jordan Matthews lined up to the right of Foles, who motioned left just prior to the snap. The problem is that safety Mike Mitchell was doing the exact same thing standing right behind Jones. I can’t say who should have had which coverage assignment, but considering Mitchell was behind Jones and could see what he was doing, he should have been the one to compensate.

Jones caught a break late in the first half when he drew a coverage assignment on Darren Sproles. He was slow getting his hips turned, and then he made the mistake of turning back to the quarterback and stopping his run. This allowed Sproles to gain easy separation, but the ball was overthrown.

View post on

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • srdan

    The gifs show a low level of technique. But I was at the game, watched him almost exclusively. The guy gave up more than once. To the point that Troy was screaming at him. Yes troy polumalu.

    Look, I don’t expect everyone to be a probowler based on skill, technique and production. But I sure expect everyone to give their all every down. For anything else I don’t have any patience.

  • srdan

    if dave didn’t flag posts, that one would have been riddled with swear words.

  • PA2AK

    I was about to say at least his run support is improving…but then I read your comment…

  • Steelers12328882

    2 of these plays I blame on LeBeau or the defense. No way JJ should’ve been in the middle of the field and expected to cover wing backs who will most likely be running to the sideline and expose his lack of speed. Why on Earth they choose to have JJ covering Sproles instead of switching it up and putting Timmons or a Safety on him is beyond me. JJ played up and down all night, but looked to get progressively worse as the game wore down. Definitely a bunch of mistakes and bad play not highlighted in this review.

  • Jake Miller

    I swear people are looking for excuses to dislike JJ at this point, as if he was the only one with problems. I didn’t see him give up on all his rushes like was suggested. That line owned our entire front 7 and singling out Jones shows some serious pessimism. I’m glad the writer acknowledged that he could have done a far worse job.

  • ApexSteel

    I wasn’t here last year, but I can almost guarantee there was some player that everyone on this site was hellbent on drafting then they grabbed Jarvis now they’re butt hurt. It happens a lot one person hypes up a player then the rest follow.

  • cencalsteeler

    Any one else surprised when Worilds side stepped Foles?
    Last gif- Pretty awesome to see 3 lineman blocking down field like that, even though they’re in green and white jerseys.

  • Steelers12328882

    I’m one of those. I really wanted Cordarrelle Patterson although I never thought JJ was a bad pick. Admittedly I’ve had to force myself to like JJ, but I was real excited to see him this preseason. It’s been up and down in his 2 games, but more than anything I’d like to see him get a lot of looks working out of the 3-4 instead of this Nickel crap.

  • charles

    Your comments bring up what smart qbs do to this 3-4, and LeBeau’s tendencies. At first it was a surprise that a 260lb LB was on a 220lb RB, now every qb looks for this key including the likes of future HoF Jake Locker and the Bills AllPro qb. Pressure on the qb is coverage that LeBeau does not understand or will not admit.

  • NinjaMountie

    I had no real dislike for JJ. I was a little worried about his size and medical issues when they drafted him. I tried to remain really optimistic about him his rookie year and kept giving the ole wait and see rhetoric. I was pumped when he acknowledged he needed to get stronger and that he planned to hit the weight room.
    Fast forward, I know it’s only the preseason, and that’s why I give the team as a whole a break, but I don’t see any real change in JJ. Yes, you can pick through film and find a few nuggets; you should be able to do that with any player on the roster. Still, he doesn’t look at all strong enough to handle himself on and every down basis. I’m worried about him and think that he isn’t working out. I don’t dislike him, though.

  • Jake Miller

    It sounds like he is probably playing Thursday for at least a bit, so we will see how he fares against someone who hasn’t been a 6 time pro bowler and 2 time first team all pro… unless Carolina has an LTD with the same credentials.

  • Jake Miller

    Complete agreement. I hope the big nickel was just an experiment in Philly.

  • AtlanticMM

    You can’t pressure 3-5 step drops with smart QBs. They have done their progressions and gotten rid of the ball before pressure can get to them. You have to bend, not break, which means NOT missing any tackles. You have to force 3rd and 8+ situation. Only then do you have time to zone blitz and get to the QB.

    If there is no pass rush this year the blame needs to go on Lebeau. Harrison was a pure rusher, but you could not use him in coverage. Lebeau now has 4 all-around LBs that he can use in any way possible, which means ANY of them can rush, any of them can drop, advantage to the D. Don’t look for Jones to have Harrison type sack numbers, but don’t look for Jones to rush as much either. He’ll be in coverage more than Harrison was.

  • AtlanticMM

    Jones was easily the highest rated player on the board and probably the highest rated need for the Steelers. It was a no-brainer pick.

    YOu may see some struggles by all the LBs early on this year because 1) Jones and Shazier have not mastered the entire system yet, 2) the d-line in front of them is in a certain state of flux. Assignments will be missed by Jones, Shazier and a few of the linemen. Missed assignments by one person have a cascade effect and poor DL play can make it LOOK like the LBs are struggling when in fact they are not. If you see an LB miss a tackle with a partial block on him, that may be because the blocker was never supposed to reach second level.

    Look, young equals mistakes. New equals mistakes. The starting D may very well have 2 young/new linemen, 1 young/new LB, 1 young LB, 1 new safety. This D will need the O to take pressure off, put teams in worse starting position, put teams behind so they have to reduce their playbook.

    10-6 if the offense does it’s job, otherwise less than that.

  • AtlanticMM

    Deep breath. They have been playing vanilla D, nothing more. No special prep. No special schemes. Not revealing their basic real season schemes. You will see more diversity and newness in practice than you will see in preseason games that can be taped and examined by other teams. The coaches would probably rather not even PLAY any preseason games if they had a choice. The play calling on offense and defense does not resemble what they will be doing. Aside from special teams play and some backup players getting some longer looks, preseason games are pretty useless! IN 4 preseason games, most teams will have had their starters on the field less than a full games worth.

  • ApexSteel

    When did I say any of this? I was defending Jarvis…

  • ApexSteel

    I’m with you. I was on the “trade back and grab Cordarrelle” train myself, but I wasn’t pissed when we grabbed Jarvis.

  • Hard Row

    I think Jones had a terrible game. He is a high first round pick and he is playing one of the impact positions on the defense. This defense can survive if the DL is mediocre, if the ILBs are mediocre, if the CBs are mediocre. They must have impact from the OLB and the Safeties.

    Yes, they were experimenting with some things and lots of people made mistakes, but the worst part about Jones is he never wins his individual matchups. That’s not a scheme thing.

    The only times Jarvis got any push was when the blocker was backpedaling and Jarvis had a running start. Look at Gif 2 above. That is a TE and Jarvis has like a 5 yard free run at a backpedaling TE. Of course he pushed him back some. But notice he did not get around him. If Worilds had not also beat his man on the other side, The QB would have easily stepped up in the pocket.

    Watch that gif and ask yourself what Harrison would do if he had a 5 yard free run at a TE in the backfield. They’d be picking pieces of Ertz out of Foles teeth.

  • Hard Row

    I think they are experimenting and trying to find things Jarvis can actually do well.

  • CrazyTerry

    I dont dislike Jarvis. He can’t help it if he is an untalented bust. My anger is at the steelers scouting who seem to let the rest of the league catch yup to them.

  • Jake Miller

    I think it’s obvious that you clearly dislike him as a player. He has played a whopping year, and throwing the words untalented and bust around is really unfair.