2016 South Side Questions: Would Jarvis Jones Get A Helmet On A Healthy Roster?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: Would Jarvis Jones even be receiving a helmet on game days if this were a healthy 53-man roster?

Over the course of the past five games, we have seen former 2013 first-round pick Jarvis Jones move from the starting right outside linebacker to riding the bench. Through the first eight games of the season, he logged more snaps than anybody else at outside linebacker.

Since then, he was demoted behind James Harrison, and, as of Sunday, is not playing on defense, at least by initial appearances. He played 12 snaps the week before, but mostly in mop-up duty at the end of the game.

Jones played just one snap on special teams against the Bills, and has on the season played just 20 special teams snaps, which was easily the lowest for all defensive players who have dressed and played regularly. Even Harrison has seen 28 snaps on special teams.

In contrast, Anthony Chickillo is a primary special teams contributor and leads all players with 247 special teams snaps for Pittsburgh this year. Arthur Moats, in the meantime, has himself only played 41 snaps on special teams, but he has been a key contributor in that area in past years, and could theoretically play a bigger role in that area again.

This all leads us to the question posed above. With the Steelers moving away from an outside linebacker rotation, if the Steelers actually had a healthy roster, including dressing players such as Darrius Heyward-Bey and Shamarko Thomas, who are important pieces on special teams, would Jones even dress for games?

The Steelers are already dressing 10 linebackers every game, but Jones is the only one outside of the starters who is not a significant contributor on special teams—or in the case of Moats, has been in the recent past.

In truth, Jones has played a bigger role on special teams before, at least in terms of snap counts, but it doesn’t appear as though they are interested in him resuming that sort of role. With both Chickillo and Moats capable of playing on both sides of the field—assuming the roster ever gets healthy—it is conceivable that Jones ends up on the bench.

About the Author

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

    I think he would because James Harrison doesn’t play special teams.

  • MattHat121

    Writing is on the wall.

  • budabar

    ((( NO )))

  • Sam Clonch

    And neither does Jarvis. And James is a starter, taking every snap on defense. Jarvis had 0 snaps against the Bills.

  • John Noh

    To think there were plenty of fans wailing and gnashing of their teeth for not picking up JJ’s fifth-year option at $8 million. As always, the coaches and the FO who see him all the time know better than the armchair GMs.

  • The Truth

    Harrison has played on special teams more than Jones. There is no point in dressing Jones on game day. He serves no purpose. Tomlin is done coddling Jones for now. If they re-sign Jones for 2017 he will be starting again. It’s the Tomlin way.

  • steelburg

    Even if they had picked the option up they could still have cut JJ at the end of the year and it would be like it never happened. Samething happened with RG3 and the Redskins. They picked up his option it didn’t work out and they cut him at the end of the year and was of the hook for the 5 year.

  • The Truth

    So true. So many of them stated Harrison was on the bench because Jones was the better OLB. Where are they now? They disappeared like the Kordell fans.

  • John Noh

    Yeah but if he got hurt, I think they’d have to eat that money in 2017 because of the CBA rules. Why even risk it?

  • steelburg

    Good point your right.

  • RickM

    If they feel confident Chickillo and Moats can spell Harrison on the right side and play decently, then Jones definitely doesn’t get a helmet. He’s not part of the future.

  • RickM

    Sorry John, but very, very few fans advocated for Jones’ 5th-year to be picked up at $8 Million. It was almost unanimous that it should not be. Almost everyone said ‘let him prove if he was worth a second contract’. I don’t think management was smarter than the fans in any way. Both were on the same page.

  • RickM

    Man, why are you guys re-writing what actually happened. I just re-read the comments after Dave Bryan’s February article that Jones’ option shouldn’t be picked up. I stopped reading after 15 different people commented because it was getting boring. All 15 said the option shouldn’t be renewed. You guys are inventing things suggesting a bunch of people advocated for the option to be renewed. It never happened.

  • John Gorn

    Is it possible for a tree trunk to get hurt?

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Slightly different subject but by my count these are only 5 Steelers in their 4th year on the team:

    Le’Veon Bell RB
    Jarvis Jones LB
    Vince Williams LB
    Markus Wheaton WR
    Shamarko Thomas S

    If Jarvis not resigned, the Steelers could end up with only Le’Veon & Vince Williams back on the roster next year from this group.

  • nutty32

    Yes. JJ is still the 3rd best olb on the team. In fact he’s a bottom tier starter in the league, it’s just that the steeler scheme requires the rolb to be somewhat of a splash player not just solid.

  • The Truth

    So then why have people said it should be re-newed if it never happened?

    Do the comments on Bryan’s article account for all comments across here and the rest of the Internet?

  • The Truth

    I wouldn’t say the the coaches and FO always know better. They shouldn’t have given him a starting job based on draft status. It took them 9 weeks to realize what so many knew already; that being Harrison is far superior. They shouldn’t have drafted Jones. Don’t be surprised if they re-sign him and start him again in 2017.

  • srdan

    This coudl be one of those week to week things. We are going to play two run heavy teams and one pass heavy team. I’d dress him for cincy and browns. If they have a better option for the ravens pass heavy O, then he won’t be as needed.

    Say what you want about his pass rushing disability, but he plays the run as well as anyone on the whole team.

  • RickM

    The vast, vast majority of fans did not believe Jarvis Jones had proven himself worth $8 Millon in 2017. That is a fact. I am not going to start counting more comments If 15 out of 15 doesn’t show you what Steelers’ fans thought.

    This is not a big deal, but calling out of “plenty of (Steelers’) fans” because they thought Jones’ option should be renewed is just plain inaccurate. And frankly it’s an insult to the knowledge of Steelers’ Nation.

  • Kevin artis

    I think they wanted to do their due diligent in insuring they got the proper evaluation and gave him every opportunity to take over the position. He did not live up to that and that’s why Harrison is starting.

  • RickM

    I agree with you on both those topics. But no, I don’t see Jarvis Jones being here in 2017. Someone in the 31-team marketplace will likely see some value in him. Could be wrong, but I would be shocked if he was in our colors next year.

  • gdeuce

    as the article said, Jarvis only played one ST snap against the Bills and has only 20 ST snaps all year

  • John Phillips

    Totally agree with you on rewriting history.
    As an aside, someone did comment that we should try him as a backup inside linebacker. Unfortunately that train has left the station (and probably ran hom over) a long time ago.

  • RickM

    Lol, good one John. Yes, I think his days are very numbered. We kept hoping year after year for pass rushing development, but it never came. I will say in his defense that I think he gave his all on the field. The ability at the pro level just wasn’t there.

  • Matthew Marczi

    For what it’s worth, I don’t recall more than perhaps just a couple of people, from the comments that I have read, supporting the idea of picking up Jones’ option. In fact, there was way more support for cutting him prior to this season in spite of the fact that his contract is guaranteed for this year. I can’t speak for the entire internet, but I do read a good percentage of the chats that take place on our site, and I don’t recall much support at all for the idea of Jones’ option being picked up.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Yeah, I’m not sure if the Steelers would even want to offer Jones a new contract. They’ll already have Dupree, Chickillo, and Moats under contract next year (Chickillo as an ERFA I believe), and I’m honestly believing Harrison is going to be back one more year. At least one draft pick at the position is going to make the roster too.

  • popsiclesticks

    Were there really?

  • Matthew Marczi

    I think Thomas will still be here next year. Very valuable special teams player without a market. And don’t forget Landry Jones.

  • popsiclesticks

    If you go and look through the NFL rosters, you’d be surprised how few players see 2nd contracts with the team that drafted them. Average draft seems to provide about 2.

  • popsiclesticks

    Indeed. People say he doesn’t have fire or whatever the hell about him but the fact is he has a tremendous motor and that seems to help him as a run stopper….just doesn’t have NFL OLB athleticism.

  • WreckIess

    We just played the best rushing attack in the league and he got no snaps. I think he’s just done at this point.

  • WreckIess

    No. Move on. He doesn’t bring anything irreplaceable to the defense so let him sit where a lot of replaceable players sit. On the bench. Give him some special teams snaps or keep him as a healthy scratch, but please get ready for life without Jarvis Jones.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    I’d rather use a draft pick and have him devip there. Thomas is a known commodity and a not very good one.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Actually he is a cornerstone of their special teams units, which have struggled in his absence.

  • ryan72384

    I honestly believed Jarvis was going to be solid this year. 6-8 sacks and some splash plays especially after the strip sack against (Bengals?) in the playoffs last year. I thought his arrow was pointing up. I really wanted him to be successful because I think he plays with fire and heart but he just lacks the physical tools. Still think he’d be an extremely solid backup at a reasonable price but unfortunately someone will overvalue him

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I do like Shamarko as a special teams player; I count Landry as a a 3rd year player since he played no snaps in 2014 – though by contract he is 4th year.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    very good observation. I only count 10 players with more than 5 years with the Steelers on the roster and that includes Heyward who is injured.

  • Matthew Marczi

    Ha, well in that case he would be a 2nd year player, because he didn’t even dress his first two years (amazingly 2 of the 3 years Roethlisberger didn’t miss a game).

  • LucasY59

    except on one play when the Steelers had a late lead against the Cowboys…

  • LucasY59

    the three that arent as likely to be re-signed are also players that look to be cheap to sign as depth, I agree the only “for sure” guy to get a deal is Bell (unless he wants ridiculous amounts of $) VW already got a deal, I think Shamarko is the most likely to get a depth/ST contract (close to minimum)

    both Wheaton and Jones will probably make more $ if the leave (but will get deals elsewhere so that shows that their time here wasnt as bad as some pretend it was …they would be on the couch if they were really BUSTS)

    so If for some reason they re-signed with low cap cost deals (one yr minimum prove it type deals) I wouldnt hate it, but I also think the team needs to move on so keeping them as emergency depth only (which also means they would need to contribute more on STs) …OR they dont even make the team but do provide camp competition so that would ensure their replacements were actually better than they were

  • LucasY59

    Surprised Moats has not had that many ST snaps, and now that Jarvis is not getting snaps on D (or STs) there is no reason for him to be active on gamedays (they have 4 healthy OLBs so he isnt really even emergency depth…)

  • Michael Conrad

    We all base J Jones worth on his ability to rush the passer as we should. I don’t fault Jones I fault the picker of Jones 100 percent. I screamed from his first year he was not a good pick and we all gave him many chances to improve and he never did. I think if we at talking a full healthy roster he would be sitting on the pine.

  • Ken Krampert

    It’s possible, but we only had like 58 snaps on defense. Silverback and Dupree aren’t going to play 100% of the snaps every week, but that being said, I think Chick and Moats will get the available snaps. No reason to showcase Jones for whoever signs him next year. He may not get a hat in the coming weeks.

  • Steve

    Why should Jones be resigned? To keep the bench warm?

  • capehouse

    Yeah pretty sure you just made that up

  • capehouse

    Oh the irony lol

  • Steve

    Vince had a new contract wrote up before the season started.

  • Steve

    Jones does not know how to set the edge. They can round around his side all day long.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery


  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    You’re right! For some reason Football Reference credits Landry Jones with playing in one game in 2013 but then he is not listed with any snaps. Must be a data entry error.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    JJ would still get a helmet. I believe that the team looks at him as JH’s primary backup. Regardless if he plays ST’s or not, if they believe JH could go down with injury, JJ is a lock for a helmet.