Earlier in the week we learned that Jason Worilds would be starting at the right outside linebacker position instead of rookie Jarvis Jones in Pittsburgh’s regular season opener against Tennessee. When one considers how Pittsburgh has almost never started rookies on the defensive side of the ball during the last decade, the decision itself was not necessarily shocking.
Unlike other recent rookies though, Jones performed well enough during preseason play to earn a vote of confidence from his head coach who said that Jones “is going to play” according to a recent article by Ed Bouchette of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
To his credit, Jones has been extremely positive about the team’s decision to start Worilds. Moreover, the former Georgia Bulldog had this to say about being Worilds’ current backup:
Everybody has a role, and my role is not to start this week, … I just have to get in there and make things happen when I can. I think I’ll get my chances.
While many first round picks would take an issue with being a “non-starter” as early as their rookie season, Jones appears to be excited that he will see the field and will receive chances to help LaMarr Woodley, Jason Worilds, and the rest of the defense.
Pittsburgh ran into trouble during the last two seasons at outside linebacker due to injuries, inconsistent play, and a lack of competent depth. Thus, the fact that the Steelers have the option of turning to Jones is a drastic improvement over what they had at the position behind the starters in 2011 and 2012.
I will say that Jones appears primed to contribute more than any rookie linebacker in a Pittsburgh uniform since Kendrell Bell roamed the middle of the field for the franchise back in 2001. As it stands however, all we can do is wait and hope that the rookie makes the most of his chances whenever he enters the game at outside linebacker and his number is called to collapse the pocket.
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