May 3, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers first round draft pick linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) participates in drills during Steelers rookie mincamp and orientation at the UPMC Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers Morning Huddle 5/5/13


Good morning Steeler nation.  Here’s some articles from over the last 24 hours with interesting discussion and information about our boys in Black ‘N Gold.

Last season there was a lot of criticism that LaMarr Woodley had lost a step or two and some of his intensity since since his big contract.  Woodley’s injuries have sidelined him for portions of the season for two years in a row.  Dan Gigler of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quoted Woodley saying he has changed up his off season conditioning.  If I were Woodley, I would be concerned about my injuries too.  Injuries are part of the game, but once you develop a reputation for injury your value starts to go down.  Woodley could just as likely get cut from the Steelers if he has another season-impacting injury as he could if his productivity continues to wane.   Of course injuries and productivity go hand in hand, just with playing time.  Also, if you are worried about re-injuring something, then you will be tentative on the field too.   I hope we see the “old” Woodley back on the field.  If we don’t, he may become “salary cap space.”

Sean Spence, an injured linebacker for the Steelers, continues to get discussed.  I’m surprised to see this article too.  A week ago or so, there was an article or blog that quoted linebackers coach Kevin Butler about Spence’s low chances of returning to football.  Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quotes Mike Tomlin as disagreeing:

Tomlin offered the following Saturday when he was asked about the rehabilitation of Spence and other injured players at Steelers rookie camp: “All the rehab is going to according to plan. No news there. I did hear the opinion regarding Spence. My opinion differs. I think he’ll have a full recovery. But now you have two opinions, neither of which are expert medical opinions, so do with it what you will.”

First, I’m surprised that Tomlin made any comment that showed a divided opinion among he and his staff.  Granted, he did it in Tomlin fashion – “do with it what you will.”  However, I wonder if this is the evolution of Mike Tomlin.   To put his differing opinion out in the media is not unheard of, but it is rare.  However, his statement does not affect anything that the Steelers plan to do with the team roster.  The Steelers continue to support Spence in his rehab and we’ll see where it goes from there.

Should Jarvis Jones have to continue to endure comparisons to and questions about James Harrison?  Jamison Hensley, an ESPN writer about AFC North issues, discusses Jones’ reactions to being picked by Pittsburgh and how he’s been welcomed to the team so far.  He quotes Jones’ about Harrison:

I don’t compare myself in any way to James Harrison,” Jones said. “He’s a great player and I respect him. I’ve never met him but I love his game. I wouldn’t mind being an impact player like James Harrison, but I’m just continuing to do what my coaches ask me to do and continuing to better myself as a player.”

What else can Jones’ say?  He’s in a no-win situation when it comes to being asked about Harrison.  He knows Harrison’s reputation and his own lack of experience in the NFL.  I know it is inevitable, but he will be linked to Harrison for a long time and I don’t think it is fair.  First, we need to see if his SEC playing experience translates to the Steelers and the NFL.  Chances are good that they will, but there is a long list of “NFL busts.”  I don’t think Jones will end up on the list, but let’s stop the Harrison comparisons and give the man a chance to learn and play with the Steelers.  Let’s let him be his own man and not have to live up to anything besides being a Steeler.  That is challenge enough, don’t you think?

So what do you think Steeler Nation?  Are you expected a replacement for James Harrison that makes the same impact?  If you are, you might want to review the NFL rules.  Harrison’s biggest impact came before the rules change and he struggled (physically and monetarily) to adjust after the change.  What kind of impact do you see from Jarvis Jones?  Let us hear what you are thinking!


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