2016 South Side Questions: Could Jarvis Jones Wind Up On The Bench?

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: How likely is it that former first-round draft pick Jarvis Jones finishes the 2016 season on the bench?

So, the Pittsburgh Steelers have five outside linebackers now. and Head Coach Mike Tomlin said he’s not into the whole five-man rotation thing that they did more or less by necessity last week while they were working Bud Dupree back into the fold. That kind of suggests that one player is going to be left out.

Dupree figures to eventually ascend into the starting lineup, but in the meantime, Anthony Chickillo is working there—or at least I assume, unless this week in practice has been different. Regardless, Chickillo’s spot is safe because he is a core special teams player.

James Harrison is in the starting lineup. He doesn’t have to worry. But Jarvis Jones and Arthur Moats do. Moats has been demoted in each of the past three years, so this is not unfamiliar territory for him. Equally concerning is that he only has seen about 12 percent of the team’s special teams snaps.

But at least he has some sacks. He has three of them on the year. Jones doesn’t have any, and he, too, has been demoted. And he has played on barely five percent of the Steelers’ special teams snaps. One of Chickillo, Jones, and Moats figure to be the one that falls out of the pack, and if one of the latter two do, they may not even get a helmet.

Jones has currently played the most snaps of all outside linebackers, but that is going to change rapidly. Chickillo, Moats, and Dupree have all worked on the right side this year, so it’s not as though they need him there. Moats has started on the right side before.

The former 17th-overall draft selection has not recorded a single sack this year, though he has not necessarily been a bad player. But chances are we are seeing his last games in Pittsburgh. He has already had his fifth-year option declined. He has been demoted, and now he could potentially be at risk of being benched entirely.

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Matthew Marczi

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


    IMO…If it’s just about getting to the passer/sacks…Jones should be the odd man out…if it’s about the most productivity aside from sacks Moats should be the odd man out…Jones can cover better, has pretty good football smarts, just not the body to finish plays in the backfield…I can even see Timmons rotating out to the edge to spell Harrison and Jones moving inside.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I guess ultimately it will be about what the team is thinking. I know originally Jones was going to be the starter because James is old and this being Jones contract year, they needed to see if there was any sign he is worth keeping. From the outside it looks like the Steelers are now certain Jones isn’t going to be that guy and if that is the case, he should be the one down.

    If we look into next season I would assume Moats would still come cheaper than Jones would if we are talking about backups at the position. So Moats has an edge there. I think the most interesting part is going to be who they rotate over to that side to share snaps with Harrison if Jones is the man down.

  • steelburg

    It’s simple really Jones should definitely be benched no question about it. Preferably I would like to see Dupree and Moats hold down the left side and Chickillo and Harrison hold down the right side. The writing is on the wall JJ is done in Pittsburgh. They shouldn’t waste anymore valuable snaps on him unless injury occurs.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    I hope the decisions are based on what will win games for the Steelers this year; not what their plans are for next year.

  • woodsworld58

    Just look at this picture…..Jones allows the blocker inside hands, GAME OVER. I’d like to see Dupree get snaps on the right side, as he may be the ideal replacement for James Harrison.

  • falconsaftey43

    Ike Taylor was giving an interview on philly radio today giving his perspective on what makes a good coach (cuz philly’s coach is terrible). He had some interesting takes on Cower and Tomlin.

    Best attribute:
    Tomlin: his game planning. Really understands the game, except for time management.
    Cower: special teams coaching. all 53 players attended special teams meeting. used to set a tone of everyone is accountable and must focus on the details.

    How he described them overall:
    Tomlin: CEO.
    Cower: Head of a biker gang.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I would say they are more or less one in the same.

  • steelburg

    I agree. They have to do both play the guys that give us the best chance to win while keeping a wondering eye towards the future. At this point no one is hotter then Harrison so he should be a lock to start. If you ask me one of the young guys Dupree or Chickillo should start opposite Harrison preferably Dupree but in game whoever appears to gets hot or provides the most pressure is who would stick with.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Not to me. But we don’t have to agree.
    We’ll both be happy as can be; if the Steelers run the table for the rest of this year.

  • Menace_501

    Can’t agree more, love to see Chick on the right side. If you watch his pass rush he is almost there a lot of the times. half second more and he would double his sacks.

  • Jacob

    Lol, Cowher did seem like that

  • Jacob

    Jarvis Jones did have one really good game this year and there was talk of giving him full time snaps. How quickly things can change in the NFL (Not for Long).

  • RickM

    interesting. That says to me that one sees himself as a figurehead, the other gets in the mud and fights.

  • RickM

    If forced to bet, I see Dupree taking most of the snaps on the left. Harrison taking a lower percentage but still the most snaps on the right. And Jones and Chickillo sharing the remaining snaps with Jones’s overall snap count dropping.

    I throw out Moat’s sacks against the semi-pro Cleveland Browns. Butler’s paraphrased comment knocking Moats (‘at least we know where Chickillo will be on assignments), sticks with me. As does Moats’ significant reduction in snap counts you mention during some other stretch runs. But, that’s very much a guess.

  • The Truth

    Harrison and Polamalu had a different take on Cowher and/or Tomlin.

    James Harrison said, “He(Cowher) left me with the determination and work ethic.” On Tomlin he referred to him as one of the guys.

    Here is an piece of an article on Polamalu’s feelings on Tomlin

    A source familiar with the Polamalu situation told me that the future Hall of Fame safety grew more and more upset with Head Coach Mike Tomlin and most of it centered around players brought in and attitudes that were tolerated. Besides being fed up a few years ago with the “Young Money Crew,” Polamalu struggled to gain a rapport with new secondary mate Mike Mitchell. Polamalu was reportedly upset about Mitchell’s playing style and lack of focus. In general, Polamalu became more and more disappointed in the way Tomlin dealt with younger players–

    Sounds to me like Tomlin likes punk attitudes over solid football and discipline.

  • Phil Brenneman II

    How do you view it?

  • Phil Brenneman II

    I am a little different than that. I say it is Dupree and Harrison as the starters. Chick with the main rotation on either side and Moats as the next man up. I just think Jones doesn’t give you anything the others don’t and if you view him as the most “cuttable” if you will, it is time to just park him on the bench.

  • SeventhHeavan

    Jones has been given plenty of playing time to excel. He hasn’t done it and probably never will.
    Tomlin is hesitant to put him on the bench because of all the backlash he will receive that this was… THE BIGGEST STEELERS BUST OF ALL TIME!…write it down.

  • Matthew Marczi

    My guess would be Moats. He was starting there in 2014 after Jones got injured, rotating with Harrison.

  • Matthew Marczi

    You’re talking about players who were already older when Tomlin came in. Tomlin was really young when he first took the job. He was only a little older than James Farrior. You think the older guys aren’t going to look at a younger head coach differently? John Lynch had a hard time taking Tomlin seriously at first in Tampa Bay when he was the DB coach there before he came to him with a list of things in his game to work on.

  • justafanlikeyou

    Love Vincenzio’s tweet to this

  • Thomas

    We should just release Jones and let him go to some other team. We are carrying a lot of dead weight in the OLB corpse and need a new parter on the right for Dupree.