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.