LeBeau: Jarvis Jones Will Still See Playing Time in Foxborough


Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

"More than that [10-15 plays during the game]. Jarvis is a playmaker. I’ve got to find ways to put him in where he can make plays. Again, I don’t think he’s further behind or ahead than any of my first year linebackers that we’ve had at the outside linebacking position. I’m looking for good things from Jarvis.-Dick LeBeau (Steelers.com)"

At least Jarvis Jones will not be rotting on the bench this weekend, am I right?

In all seriousness though, it still worries me that their most recent first round pick is not “further ahead” of some of the washout outside linebackers which the Steelers have drafted during LeBeau’s second stint with the team like Jason Worilds, Chris Carter, Adrian Robinson, etc..

“Negative Nancy” attitude aside, I am intrigued to see how often Jones is inserted into the lineup in Foxborough against the Patriots.

Although New England has been more inclined to running the football than they have in years past, the strength of their offense is Tom Brady and their passing game. While Brady’s weapons aren’t necessarily as potent as they have been in recent years, he has enjoyed plenty of success going to the air against the Steelers during his career (171 for 251, 1,884 yards, 14 touchdowns, six regular season games) with a quick-strike attack.

While Brady might be more than willing to let his improved running game gash Pittsburgh’s weak run defense, keeping the future “Hall of Famer” off-balanced and skittish in the pocket will be of the utmost importance for the Steelers’ pass-rushers like Jones.

As important as exercising discipline and maintaining a stout presence at the point of attack against the run will be for the rookie on Sunday afternoon, Jones must shine in obvious passing situations when he is on the field. The rookie was out of position in pass coverage a couple of times against the Raiders last weekend, and he must be ready to defend New England’s running backs in the passing game if he is called upon to cover them.

As a pass-rusher, I hope that LeBeau is able to get Jones in some favorable matchups in some blitz packages like he did in Week Six against the New York Jets. Although Jarvis did not record a sack, his pressure and pocket-collapse directly led to two important interceptions for the Steelers’ defense during the second half of that particular game.

Although he has been demoted, it is still comforting to know that Jones will continue to see the field on the defensive side of the ball for Pittsburgh down the stretch. Most of all though, it makes me happy to see that his defensive coordinator is making a point to put the raw rookie in situations in which his skill-set can be properly utilized as well.

Pittsburgh could really use a breakout game from their rookie outside linebacker, and maybe the recent demotion could fuel a strong performance from Jones on Sunday.

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