Many were excited about rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones after his collective performance during preseason play. The former Georgia Bulldog illustrated a nose for the football and a knack for making “splash plays,” and his solid play plus the ineffectiveness of Jason Worilds forced Pittsburgh’s coaching staff to move the rookie into the starting lineup before Week Two.
Unfortunately for Jones, he has been largely ineffective and looked lost for much of his rookie campaign. Outside of some solid pass rushes against the New York Jets, both of which led to interceptions, Pittsburgh’s 2013 first round pick has struggled mightily to set the edge in the running game (21 tackles), drop back into coverage, and most of all, create consistent pocket collapse.
The deficiency in the latter area has been the most worrisome throughout the 2013 campaign, and Jones still has more Subway commercials (one) under his belt than sacks (zero) at the professional level.
Despite his early-season struggles and issues when it has come to rushing the passer, Dick LeBeau does not seem to be worried about his rookie outside linebacker according to Scott Brown of ESPN.com:
You will be talking about that man [Jarvis Jones] for time to come. He is going to continue to grow. That’s how I see it.
To be fair to Jones, it is far too early in his career for people to dismiss him due to his early season struggles. Under LeBeau, rookies are usually relegated to the bench and special teams duty before they receive chances to compete on the defensive side of the ball.
While Jones might have lost his starting gig to Worilds due to his issues after the Oakland game, it is definitely a positive sign that he is competing for playing time and seeing game-action as early as he is in his career.
Of course, it’s not like we won’t “talk about” Jones here in “Steeler Nation” if he continues to have problems creating pocket collapse and panning out as a pass-rusher.
We’ll just throw his name into discussions centered around the likes of Alonzo Jackson and Bruce Davis as opposed to Joey Porter and James Harrison.
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