By Alex Kozora
Below is a snap-by-snap recap and breakdown of the play of Pittsburgh Steelers rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones in the preseason opener against the New York Giants.
Dropped into coverage/Rushed: 2/0
– 1st and 10, 14:41 2nd. Drops into coverage, a hook zone. David Carr throws to the opposite side.
– 2nd and 10, 14:37. Drops again into hook zone (protect curl, force flat). No receiver in the area, No. 1 receiver runs post or deep dig. Carr throws to opposite side of the field.
– 1st and 10, 13:59. Run to his (strong) side. Base block by the TE Brandon Myers. Holds his own at the point of attack and able to shed once the running back is forced to bounce the play to the outside. Angle Jones takes looks to be a bit off and Brown is able to beat him to the edge for a gain of six. A bit slow, too.
– 2nd and 4, 13:29. Toss right to Brown. Fumbles it. Jones comes in free from the backside to recover it. As he admitted after the game, there was the opportunity to get back up and run with it before he was touched.
– 1st and 10, 9:08 2nd. Jones tries to dip around the edge. Not low enough. William Beatty gets his arms extended and pushes him up the arc.
– 2nd and 3, 8:34. Run. Beatty base blocks Jones and for the most part, manhandles him. Gets lower and drives him back three yards. Washes the rookie out of the play.
– 3rd and 1, 7:56. Run up the middle. Left tackle down blocks, FB/TE Larry Donnell out of the backfield successfully kicks Jones out, allowing Andre Brown to pick up the first down. That happens in the NFL but I don’t like Jones leading with his shoulder to take on Donnell’s block. That might work in college but not here.
– 1st and 10, 7:24. Playaction. Jones rushes and is chipped by the back while working against the TE pass blocking. Shows some feistiness, pushing the RB aside. The TE lets him go and lazily releases into the flat. Good pursuit of Carr, who scrambles out of bounds. Liked the effort.
– 2nd and 9, 6:50. Run. Jones works through the TE but can’t get to Brown in time. Again, good pursuit and helps bring him down from behind.
– 3rd and 1, 6:09. Pass. Drops into hook zone. Screen to his side. Jones does pick it up but the play goes nowhere after Cam Heyward sniffing it out leads to a Jason Worilds sack.
– 1st and 10, 1:45 2nd. Drops into hook zone. Draw to David Wilson away from the first rounder. Not much to look at here.
– 2nd and 1, 1:25. Pass. Jones rushes. Inside shimmy to LT Chris DeGeare. Seems to get tangled up in the legs of the guard, loses his balance, and the tackle pushes him into the ground. Could be an example of Keith Butler stating that Jones can’t rush inside as much.
– 1st and 10, 1:01. Pass with Jones rushing. Heyward and Al Woods slant to his side with Jones looping around them. The right guard picks up the stunt. Jones attempts to turn around but the guard mirrors with ease.
– 1st and 10, :55. Pass plus Jones rush. Pre-snap, we can see Jones communicating with Shamarko Thomas and both blitz, with Thomas attacking the “B” gap and Jones around the edge. Jarvis doesn’t use his hands well and the left tackle easily seals him upfield.
– 2nd and 10, :49. Jones rushes on the pass. Again tries to dip/rip around the edge. Not low enough and again gets pushed up the arc.
– 1st and 10, :26. Pass. Jones is rushing but sees Carr eyeing the flat. Does look like he wants to try and swat the ball but only half-heartedly puts an arm up. Pass is easily completed in the flats.
– 1st and 10, :21. On this pass, Jones gets a fantastic jump, blowing past DeGeare. Carr gets the ball away just before Jones applies any major pressure, but still, an excellent job.
– 2nd and 10, :16. He stunts with Heyward, looping over the end. Stoned by the guard who picks it up. Carr gets the ball out quick so it’s a moot point anyway.
– 1st and 10, :10. He again stunts with Heyward. It gets picked up again by the Giants’ line.
– 1st and 10, 15:00 3rd. Drops into hook zone. Carr throws to opposite flats.
– 1st and 10, 14:26. Rushes. Good first punch, gets his arms extended and beats TE Adrien Robinson to the inside. Carr gets rid of it before Jones can get pressure.
– 2nd and 10, 14:21. Run. Stalemate between DeGeare and Jones. Running back cuts back into him and Jones is able to get his nose in there at the end of the play.
– 3rd and 9, 13:39. Chipped by the running back. But he keeps fighting and sidesteps the tackle. But the ball comes out immediately after.
– 1st and 10, 13:07. Run off right guard. Not much going on here. Stalemate with the tight end.
– 2nd and 8, 12:35. Playaction. The Giants pull LG Selvish Capers who gets a good initial punch. Seems safe to assume Jones wasn’t expecting that and gets knocked off balance. Does fight him off at the last moment but a learning opportunity of how more complex NFL schemes are.
– 3rd and 8, 12:28. Jones rushes the edge. Not low enough and DeGeare pushes him upfield. Jones’ shoulder must be lower so it isn’t an easy target for the tackle to hit. Picture of the aiming point the tackle has.
– 1st and 10, 11:44 3rd. Lead strong to the rookies’ side. Nice play here. Good arm extension, getting into the pads of Donnell and keeps his legs churning. Able to shed the block. Didn’t make the tackle but showed his strength on this play.
– 2nd and 13, 11:07. Draw away from Jones.
– 3rd and 9, 10:31. Drops into coverage. Appears to be a zone blitz. Reads Painter’s eyes the whole time, who throws to the sideline incomplete.
– 1st and 10, 8:29 3rd. He rushes. TE releases and the FB goes into the flat. He comes in free off what appears to be a mistake in pass protection by the back, who doubles the end. But Painter throws incomplete before Jones can get there.
– 2nd and 10, 8:25. Lead Strong up the “A” gap. Jones with good arm extension and proper hand placement. Not involved much with the actual play, however.
– 3rd and 7, 7:50. Drops into coverage on this pass. Excellent job of jamming TE Larry Donnell. Stonewalls him.
– 1st and 10, 7:35 3rd. Lead strong to the right side. Base blocked by the TE. Other than that, not much to note.
– 2nd and 9, 6:56. Toss left. Jones comes in free but that’s because of the pulling guard and tackle due to the toss. There may have been a stunt here between Jones and Arnfelt, who gets to the edge quickly and makes the tackle. Or just really good recognition from Arnfelt. Difficult to say.
– 3rd and 7, 6:49. Draw. Jones works off the LT but the guard moving to the second level sticks him. Still, nice job to essentially take up two blockers on one play.
– 1st and 10, 3:10 3rd. Run off tackle to his side. “Fold” block from the TE and LT. The TE down blocks the end and the tackle seals the ‘backer. Jones gets swallowed up but wouldn’t say he was washed out. Testament to his strength.
– 2nd and 10, 2:30. Same story on this pass. Unable to get low around the edge and DeGeare shoves him upfield.
– 3rd and 10, 2:25. Lines up in the closed side “A” gap (picture below). An interesting wrinkle. Drops into coverage. A step slow in getting to the back making the catch and misses with an arm tackle.
– 1st and 10, 1:53. Run. He sees it and loops around but the play is blown up by Al Woods.
– 2nd and 14, 1:13. Rushes around the edge. But it’s a screen to his side and he gets pushed upfield on the tackle’s initial punch. Not involved in the play.
– 3rd and 5, :50. His most talked about play. Half rollout by the QB with a backside screen to the TE. Jones, dropping into coverage, sees it, works through guard Selvish Capers and brings the tight end down with an arm tackle, stopping him short of the sticks. If not for his tackle, it’s an easy first down and much more.
One positive we can take away is overall, Jones did get better as the game went on and the first game jitters dissipated. He showed his upper body strength and ability to hold his own against the run, a must in Dick LeBeau’s defense. His pass rush left a lot to be desired. He must get lower than what he showed Saturday and needs to use his hands better in both the run and pass. There’s a flash of counter moves but they need to be refined and improved. Of course, these are things that can be corrected over time.