Steelers vs Panthers Film Review: Jarvis Jones

It doesn’t seem likely that Jarvis Jones will be able to silence his critics until he starts racking up the sacks. The Pittsburgh Steelers’ 2013 first-round draft pick got off to a good start in the opening preseason game by recording a sack, but he, like most of the team, suffered a poor showing in the third game. Jones sat out the second game with a groin injury.

So it was important for Jones to show well in the preseason finale, which he did, particularly working against the run, which is something that he did quite well in stretches during his rookie season.

In all, Jones had a successful day working against Carolina Panthers left tackle Byron Bell, in both the running and passing games. He was able to get past the lineman a few times to generate pressure on Derek Anderson, as on this occasion.

On the Panthers’ opening drive, they had just converted a fourth and one attempt. On the next play, both Jones and Brett Keisel put pressure on the quarterback to force an incompletion. Jones used his inside arm well by knocking Bell’s right arm to the side and swimming his right shoulder over the left tackle to get into the backfield.

He slammed into the running back, but in the process helped filter Anderson into Keisel’s path while preventing him from being able to get off a throw.

After the defense stopped the rushing attack after a gain of one yard on second down, the Steelers sent the inside linebackers on a double A Gap blitz, helping to expose the right side of the defense to a screen, which is what the Panthers were planning on. Jones had the best shot at making a play here on third and nine, but the angle was too sharp for him and he couldn’t get to the receiver.

He responded on the next play by getting another good rush on the quarterback, beating Bell once again and slamming into the running back, bouncing him a few yards further into the backfield. He and others helped put the pressure on Anderson to rush the pass, which was hung for Lawrence Timmons to have a chance to intercept.

Jones had his finest individual play of the night on the Panthers’ second drive when he made a run stop on third and one to force three-and-out. The Panthers tried to block down on him with a tight end in addition to pulling the right guard, but Jones cut in between them, grabbed on to the back, and pulled him down for a loss of one.

As any good outside linebacker should, Jones fared well against tight ends during this game. With five minutes gone in the second quarter, the Panthers tried to block Jones with Ed Dickson, and it didn’t quite work out as they’d envisioned. Jones simply overpowered the tight end, jolting him back and then releasing to grab hold of the running back, dragging him down by the foot for no gain.

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Matthew Marczi

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

  • Bill Sechrengost

    I think we’ll have to hold our breath all year that either of the OLB’s don’t get injured. That isn’t a knock against Moats as the backup. The Steelers have really taken a chance with their lack of depth at OLB. It’s one of the positions that really cannot afford to lose anyone.

  • PA2AK

    He still has plenty of room to grow…but he is night and day from last year to me. I just don’t think he had the football smarts to grasp the defense that quickly last year. Hopefully the sack indeed come. JJ seems to be playing with a bit of violence. As long as he keeps working…

  • PA2AK

    OLB, CB, OL in that order….only because we know Ben can make something happen with even the worst OL’s haha.

  • sean griffin

    thats great, that a really good game

  • superfan

    So Jones had a sack in game one, missed game two, had a rough go against Jason Peters, and played well in the finale. In my opinion, Jones is in great shape to start the season. His only poor performance came against the Eagles, who might have the league’s best offensive line.

    Taking on Joe Thomas will be tough this Sunday, but he was disruptive the last time he played Cleveland.

  • steeltown

    He looks improved

  • steeltown

    Ha! That 1st gif is fun to watch, quick off the ball, good use of the hands and slid right past. That Tackle had no chance. If the RB hadn’t impeded he would’ve blew Anderson up.

  • 20Stoney

    What I’m seeing that I didn’t see last year are inside moves on his pass rush. He’s not just letting himself be run upfield now.

  • srdan

    hmm, never thought of it that way. When you list his games as you did, it sounds a lot beter.

  • Douglas Andrews

    Seems like he’s just playing and not thinking so much out there which allow him to play faster. Can only think of Woodley here lately who was able to make an impact in his rookie year at OLB. I’m looking for a 7-10 sack season from JJ if he stays healthy. Just watching his preseason tape this year he’s looking a lot like he did at UGA.

  • Steel PAul

    So really it’s QB first.

    Personally I put CB next but specifically the LT on the O line would truly be second after Ben.

  • steeltown

    I agree it’s somewhat surprising to only keep 3, not that C.Carter was worth keeping or anything, plus Garvin sure didn’t see many, if any, snaps at OLB this offseason.

    Maybe they plan to use the 4-2-5 often this year

  • PA2AK

    Very true on Ben…guess that is just automatic in my head haha. Only reason I say OLB first (after Ben) is how poor the D functions without quality OLB’s and we aren’t even sure if JJ and Worilds will be good enough as is…let alone the depth. CB is huge because we know how lackluster our starters are. LT hit would be big, but Ben has somehow managed to put up some great performances in spite of some pitiful players in front of him.

  • Steel PAul

    For me, it comes down to five words strung together:
    Mike Adams at Left Tackle


  • Bill Sechrengost

    That’s a good point. If they can stay at least mostly healthy without losing their major stars, I think they will win their division.

  • steeltown

    Jackson Jeffcoat is still on the streets… odd

  • CrazyTerry

    That Browns team quit on the final game last season . If Jones plays well this opener, that will mean something.

  • Jacque Strappe

    Amen, I’d take Moats at OLB instead of Adams at tackle, every day of the week.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Yes, I don;t mind if he plays a little possum and runs up the field for a couple of plays. But he better be prepared to do some different stuff after that. And when he gets a favourable matchup against a TE, for example, he better be dominating them. And I mean dominating! That’s the least we should expect from him this year. Hopefully, he will be a little better against the run. We shall see if he has truly added some strength.

  • Ken

    Jarvis is so quick off the snap, he is only lacking a little bulk and experience to being great. If he stays healthy this year he prove all his doubters wrong.

  • SteelCitysFinest

    Doesn’t have the football smarts? What qualifies you to make statements like this?

  • SteelCitysFinest

    He doesn’t have the football smarts? What qualifies you to make absurd statements like this? He was an All-American in college and led the nation in sacks his senior year.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Mike Adams shouldnt be at left tackle. He is a right tackle and hopefully, that is where they will put him again. The experiment has failed, now put the guy where he belongs.

  • Arthur Branch

    I must say I had my doubts about him being stronger and not gaining any weight. Looking at the tape he definitely looks stronger than last. You can also tell Joey has been working with him to develop an arsenal of moves. I am hoping that Tomlin is right that he will get better as the season goes on.

  • PA2AK

    Try reading again…with comprehension this time. ‘To pick up the defense that quickly’…i.e. Learn the Steelers defense in his rookie year. Which he clearly wasn’t capable of doing and has said himself. No real slight against him. Very very few ever have in their rookie season. Remind me again who is making absurd statements