[B]Jarvis Jones feels like he belongs with the Steelers[/B]
By Michael Uhlhorn on May 3 2013
Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review had a good run on twitter today highlighting his impressions from the Steelers first rookie minicamp. This gem signals what many Jarvis Jones supporters have been saying since well before the draft -- this kid was born to be a Steeler.
It is hard to pick any linebacker number when you play for the Steelers and not be compared to a great player with the same number who came before you, but Jarvis Jones looks like he might have what it takes to fill in as the next great #95 for the Steel City.
Also on Jones, one quote doesn't make or break a man's character, but Jones started off on the right foot showing that he knows his role on this team and that the Steelers make you earn your spot, regardless of your draft position.
[B]Steelers OTAs: Outside linebackers begin sharpening iron for a fierce competition[/B]
By Neal Coolong on May 28 2013
The absence of James Harrison and the recent injury issues of LaMarr Woodley give Jarvis Jones, Jason Worilds, Adrian Robinson and Chris Carter plenty to shoot for in what looks to be an intense competition for playing time.
There's likely only one member of Steeler Nation excited about the hamstring injury suffered by first round pick Jarvis Jones.
Steelers OLB Adrian Robinson. Perhaps two, with Jason Worilds joining the upstart Robinson. Maybe oft-injured Chris Carter is having silent enjoyment over the limitation of the much hyped Jones.
Jones pulled a hamstring in his pro day at the University of Georgia before the NFL Draft. He re-aggravated it during the Steelers' rookie minicamp in May. He was limited in the first OTA session last week, and could be limited in the second session, which begins today in Pittsburgh.
That's fine for the other Steelers outside linebackers. The less Jones is around, the more attention for them. This would play in well to the pro-Steelers side effect of selecting Jones in the first place; the creation of internal competition.
Worilds has three years of experience now, and has played a decent amount of snaps in his career. While he was likely put off at least a little over the Steelers offering James Harrison a reduced deal to remain with the team just as Worilds, a second round pick in 2010, enters the last year of his rookie deal, he had to be at least a little miffed over the selection of Jones after that.
If Worilds is fueled by that, Robinson should be even more motivated. Harrison's departure gave him a free shot at Worilds in an even competition. Bringing Jones into the mix is yet another highly touted prospect the former undrafted free agent has to beat out to see the field.
Carter, who has battled injuries his entire career, saw the field in lieu of Harrison and Worilds at the start of last season, and needs a healthy start to this camp to move past his likely fringe roster status.
Iron sharpens iron, and Worilds sharpens Jones, Robinson and Carter. Or perhaps Robinson is the one sharpening all of them. The high-pitched shriek of sharpening metal is ringing loudly in the ears of the veteran of the group, too. LaMarr Woodley has his own sense of urgency as well, looking to play at the level he was at over the first half of the 2011 season, when he had nine sacks in eight games.
He's getting the paycheck, and he should be sharpening everyone else more than they're sharpening him. After such a long streak of a lack of health, though, he shouldn't feel as if his left outside linebacker spot is his by divine right. Robinson and Jones certainly won't feel that way.
Competition is a good thing, and perhaps with a healthy core unit of outside linebackers, the Steelers could work to increase that one thing the group hasn't had recently; depth.
[B]Worilds no longer on outside looking in at linebacker[/B]
Four-year veteran to play on right side[/B]
May 31, 2013
By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The long line of succession at right outside linebacker has been consistently good to great for the Steelers these past 30 years, with a few exceptions.
There was Mike Merriweather and Greg Lloyd and Chad Brown and Joey Porter and James Harrison, along with some exceptions like Carlos Emmons and Greg Carr.
Today, there is Jason Worilds, the latest to fill one of the most star-studded positions on the Steelers in three decades. He does not want to join the small list of exceptions.
The job is his and there is absolutely no pressure on him, unless you count this: As a second-round draft pick in his fourth season, it is his first chance to win a starting job; this is the final year of his contract; he follows in the footsteps of Harrison, the Super Bowl hero, five-time Pro Bowl starter and former NFL defensive player of the year.
Oh, and this: The Steelers thought so much of Worilds they tried to bring Harrison back, only he balked at their offer to reduce his salary and then joined the Cincinnati Bengals.
And this, too: The Steelers used their first draft pick, the 17th overall, to select outside linebacker Jarvis Jones of Georgia. It was the first time they chose an outside linebacker in the first round in 22 years.
No pressure at all.
"It's just the Steelers way," Worilds said. "One outside linebacker leaves, another comes in. It was the same way when I came in, the same way when Chris Carter came in."
Really, though, it is not. The Steelers did not draft Jones, as former personnel man Tom Donahoe might say, to lead the band at halftime. Unless he's a Huey Richardson-like bust, or injuries alter the path, Jones will play right outside linebacker -- maybe not start there this year but surely by 2014.
All Worilds can do is play, and maybe show some other team that he can start for them in 2014.
"I come out here and put my best foot forward and let the decision-makers make the decisions," Worilds said.
The chief decision-maker, Mike Tomlin, did not turn to Worilds last season when Harrison could not play after August knee surgery. He chose Chris Carter instead. Carter started three games.
The reason Tomlin did not select Worilds to fill in while Harrison awaited his return was a left wrist injury that required surgery before these spring practices a year ago. That surgery left Worilds on the sideline and his wrist still weak in training camp than an outside linebacker in the NFL needs.
"It was tough, a little worse than what we expected,'' said Worilds, who is 6 foot 2 and about 255 pounds. "Fortunately, I was able to play the whole season."
Because of injuries to LaMarr Woodley, Worilds started three games at left outside linebacker and played in other games in which Woodley could not finish. He played 435 snaps and had five sacks, just one behind co-leaders Harrison and Lawrence Timmons. His sacks-per-play percentage was higher than any other linebacker. He also started seven games for an injured Woodley in 2011 and had four sacks.
Unless Jones pulls a Maurkice Pouncey and his preseason play demands that he start, Worilds has a chance to take that part-time role and show he can handle it on a full-time basis. For the first time in his four seasons, he does not find himself between a rock (Woodley) and a hard place (Harrison). The only way he was going to play in his first three seasons would be if one of those two couldn't, and that's pretty much what happened.
"As a competitor, yeah, that's going to make anybody upset," Worilds said. "That's in anything you do. Naturally, not being able to come in and put my sword in, so to speak, was frustrating. But it was also an opportunity to get better."
He finally has that opportunity in his fourth season, and he can only hope it goes as well as the first opportunity Keenan Lewis had in his fourth season. Also a backup his first three years, Lewis became a starting cornerback last season and played well enough to land a five-year, $26 million contract as a free agent with New Orleans.
In the meantime, Worilds' play at right outside linebacker naturally will be measured against his predecessor's.
"I'm not James Harrison," Worilds protested. "When Jason Worilds steps on the field, anyone who expects James Harrison is fooling themselves."
You just never know in the NFL. Look how many years Hines Ward was an afterthought and we brought in these 1st round WRs. I hope Jarvy lights a fire in the belly or Worilds and Robinson and Carter.
[B]Larry Foote thinks it will be “difficult” for Jarvis Jones to win a starting role[/B]
Posted by Josh Alper on June 5, 2013
Much has been made about the changes across the Steelers roster in the last couple of years and linebacker Larry Foote knows that the team is “going through a bit of a transition period” right now.
Such a transition period calls for new players to step into roles vacated by veteran contributors, something that will be happening on both sides of the ball in Pittsburgh this season. One of the players who will be asked to take on a new role is first-round pick Jarvis Jones, but Foote thinks it may not be an immediate trip to the starting lineup for the rookie even though he has experience in a 3-4 scheme from his days at the University of Georgia.
“It’s going to be difficult, especially outside,” Foote said, via Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “There is so much technique, where you’ve got to line up, inside or outside. The fortunate thing is they [Jones' Georgia Bulldogs] played a 3-4. … I’ve seen a lot come in as rookies and not have a clue, but you can tell he’s been around our type of football.”
Jones and Jason Worilds are the choices as a replacement for James Harrison in the starting lineup and history says that the money should be on the veteran winning the starting job after players like LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons started their careers on the bench in Pittsburgh. Jones doesn’t need to start to make an impact, however. If his collegiate pass rushing skills translate to the NFL, he’ll be on the field often in his rookie season and the transition period would be less painful in at least one spot for the Steelers.
Maybe I'm jaded watching Harrison for so long but Jones seriously needs to hit the weight room and add something to that frame.
[QUOTE=NorthCoast;564599]Maybe I'm jaded watching Harrison for so long but Jones seriously needs to hit the weight room and add something to that frame.[/QUOTE]
Or perhaps Jones can rush the passer in other ways than just a "bull rush" using speed and agility. Harrison's technique is probably a contributing reason his back problems. IMO a "speed rush" can be more disruptive than just pushing the OT in a straight line towards the QB.
[QUOTE=Oviedo;564600]Or perhaps Jones can rush the passer in other ways than just a "bull rush" using speed and agility. Harrison's technique is probably a contributing reason his back problems. IMO a "speed rush" can be more disruptive than just pushing the OT in a straight line towards the QB.[/QUOTE]
Short of cloning LT, it's going to be hard to find any OLB that was more disruptive than Harrison during his prime. He had the bull rush but could also get around the edge.
[QUOTE=phillyesq;564602]Short of cloning LT, it's going to be hard to find any OLB that was more disruptive than Harrison during his prime. He had the bull rush but could also get around the edge.[/QUOTE]
For a relatively short period of time, he was one of the greatest 3-4 OLBs ever.
[B]Jarvis Jones might start as Pittsburgh Steelers rookie[/B]
By Kevin Patra NFL.com
Published: June 30, 2013
During minicamp earlier this month, the thought process was that the Pittsburgh Steelers, as is generally their modus operandi, would bring rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones along slowly.
However, according to Len Pasquarelli, writing for the National Football Post this Sunday, the rookie could overtake fourth-year pro Jason Worilds for the starting gig on the right side of the 3-4 defense.
Jones is unlike most Steelers defensive rookies in that he already is familiar with playing linebacker, while most of Pittsburgh's recent draft picks were moved from defensive end to linebacker for the first time -- think LaMarr Woodley.
"(Jones) has got (linebacker) instincts," defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. "You don't have to (wean) him off the end stuff."
Any player learning the outside linebacker position will say the most difficult part is in mastering coverage instincts. If LeBeau already sees progress from the rookie, as Jones learns the rest of the defensive calls, it reasons that one of the greatest defensive minds in the history of the NFL wouldn't hesitate to push the more talented player into the rotation quickly.