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Thread: Rookies Bell, Jones could start for Steelers if they can learn systems

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post
    Minicamp underway for Steelers

    Posted 6/11/13
    Teresa Varley
    Steelers.com

    Rookie running back Le’Veon Bell knows he has his work cut out for him to see quality playing time this season, but he is willing to do whatever it takes.

    “I want to come in here and try and compete and win games,” said Bell. “We have a lot of talent in the backfield. All I can do is go out there and compete.

    “I am ready for whatever. I just want to go out there and do the best that I can. I don’t want to set any expectations for anyone. I just want to do the best that I can.”

    One of the keys for Bell is to get a good understanding of the offense between now and the start of training camp so he will be able to go full speed then. He will have plenty of time between the end of minicamp on Thursday and the first training camp practice on July 27 to do just that.

    “It’s just the ability to grasp the entire offense, the entire package, from a protection standpoint, ball security, running the right route on pass plays,” said running backs coach Kirby Wilson. “We are looking for all phases from him in order to be able to compete at the highest level. The fundamentals have to be there.

    “He wants to learn the offense so he has a chance to compete for a job, so they know what to do and how to do it.”

    Wilson said one of the toughest things for rookies to learn is pass protection, and it’s something he will have work on if he wants to get on the field.

    “That’s any running back,” said Wilson. “You have to be able to protect the quarterback or you won’t play. That’s not just in Pittsburgh. That’s in every NFL city.

    “There is so much more technique involved. You are going against skilled pass rushers, as opposed to guys in college that are just rushing. For these guys, it’s an art. There are counter moves, and these guys are very explosive that rush the passer in the NFL.”

    http://www.steelers.com/news/article...b-e6735daff470
    Got to love Bell's combination of talent and attitude. Dwyer has talent but little attitude. Redman has attitude but little talent. I think Dwyer and Redman will be seeing greatly reduced opportunities to carry the ball.

    Let's hope Bell is starting from Day 1.
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

  2. #22
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    Steelers breaking in top pick Jones slowly

    By Alan Robinson
    Published: Wednesday, June 12, 2013

    Jarvis Jones must prove it to LaMarr Woodley, Larry Foote and Lawrence Timmons before he can establish it with Keith Butler.

    Prove he can read and react fast enough to play in one of the NFL's most complicated defenses. Prove he knows the defense's intricacies. Prove that he's not, as coach Mike Tomlin might say, a one-trick pony.

    If Jones is to start as a rookie in a defense that is searching for a replacement for All-Pro outside linebacker James Harrison, he must show his teammates that he indeed knows and understands the defense they've mastered.

    That's something even Woodley couldn't achieve as a rookie.

    “It's not fair to the rest of the guys to have him out on the field,” Butler, the Steelers' linebackers coach, said Wednesday. “He knows that. Before he plays, he's got to know what he's doing.”

    As soon as the Steelers drafted Jones with the No. 17 pick, the anticipation was that he would start immediately. He was the top pass rusher in college football last season with 141⁄2 sacks at Georgia, and his style and demeanor seem perfect for a pressure-based defense.

    “In college, he kind of free lanced a little bit, and we're a little more disciplined in what we ask them to do and the techniques we ask them to use in the passing game,” Butler said. “All he did (at Georgia) was drop straight back and look at the quarterback. We're asking him to do a lot of different things in terms of pass coverage, and that's not one of them. We've got to get him out of that habit, and he's willing to get out of that habit.”

    For now, the Steelers are working Jones only at right outside linebacker where Harrison played — and where Jones is competing with Jason Worilds, a 2010 second-round pick who has been mostly a situational pass rusher.

    “It's like trying to teach algebra to basic match,” safety Troy Polamalu said. “You've got to almost erase their career and what they've learned to this point and start anew with this defense.”

    Butler isn't quite starting anew at linebacker, not with Woodley, Foote and Timmons all returning. But he has a challenge in trying to get Woodley back to his dozen-sacks-a-season form of a couple years ago. He had only four last season.

    Woodley changed his offseason training regimen, and Butler likes what he sees so far. Or, more precisely, what he doesn't see: as much Woodley as before.

    Woodley won't say what he weighs.

    “Whatever he did, it appears to be right,” Butler said. “The biggest thing is we've got to keep him on the field. LaMarr is a prideful man. He understands he has to play at a certain level to fulfill his contract, you might say. He's working on it.”

    http://triblive.com/sports/steelers/...#ixzz2W3BDILK8

  3. #23

  4. #24
    Hall of Famer SteelCrazy's Avatar
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    Don't rule out rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones starting for Steelers

    By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 06/13/2013

    The most recent rookies to nail down starting jobs with the Steelers defense no longer are with the defense. Casey Hampton is gone after a dozen years as their starting nose tackle and inside linebacker Kendrell Bell's career steadily went downhill after he was named NFL defensive rookie of the year.

    They took over as rookies in 2001. No rookie has won a starting defensive job since, not Troy Polamalu, not Lawrence Timmons or LaMarr Woodley, and neither of their first-round picks at defensive end, Ziggy Hood nor Cameron Heyward.

    Jarvis Jones could end that drought.

    "He's showing us things, and, if he keeps showing those things he's going to be a big part of that, hopefully," said Keith Butler, who coaches the Steelers linebackers.
    Butler said Jones, the team's first-round draft choice, will compete to start at right outside linebacker in training camp. His main competition to fill James Harrison's spot is veteran Jason Worilds, their second-round draft pick in 2010 who is trying to win his first starting job.
    One rookie has started at outside linebacker for the Steelers since the modern era of pro football began in 1970 with the merger of the NFL and the AFL. His name is Jack Ham.

    No other rookie has done so, and expectations were rarely there for them to do it, especially when they switched to the 3-4 defense in 1982 and began taking college defensive ends and converting them to outside linebackers. That took time, but now comes Jones fresh off Georgia's 3-4 defense and more ready-made than what the Steelers are used to at outside linebacker.

    "The best thing for him is his background, he played linebacker at Georgia, so he understands concepts as opposed to being a defensive end who doesn't know anything," Butler said.
    "He's picked some things up. There's a lot we're throwing at him right now, as we do everybody. He's still learning, but he's learning at a quicker pace than most guys we drafted at that position as a defensive end."

    Plenty can happen between now, training camp and when the Steelers kick off their season Sept. 8 against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field, but Jones is pushing to become the next Ham, who started all 14 games his rookie season of 1971, when he was a second-round draft pick.

    "He's shown us a lot of instinctive football ability," defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. "If the coach doesn't mess him up, I think he's got a chance to be a pretty good player."

    Jones is learning to drop into pass coverage in spring practices more than anything else.

    "He's done well in the drops, but, when he was in college, he kind of freelanced a little bit," Butler said. "We're a little bit more disciplined in terms of what we ask him to do and the technique we ask him to use in the passing game.
    "All he did was drop straight back and look at the quarterback. He was 5 yards off the ball looking at the quarterback. We ask him to do a lot of different things in terms of pass coverage, and that's not one of them. I have to get him out of that habit a little bit, and he's willing to get out of that habit."

    The better Jones knows the defense, the more chance he will have to start in it. Woodley flashed great pass-rush ability as a rookie in 2007, but did not start a game because he did not know the defense.

    "I think you play people when they're ready to play and, what I mean by that is when they know what they're doing," Butler said. "If they don't know what they're doing, they hurt the doggone defense, and it's not fair to the rest of the guys to have them out on the field. He knows that, and I've talked to him about it. Before he plays, he has to know what he's doing."

    Woodley shaping up nicely

    Butler is pleased with Woodley's physical shape this spring. He hopes he can keep it up.

    Woodley's past two seasons were marred by injuries. A hamstring injury ruined the second half of his 2011 season, and hamstring and ankle injuries limited him to 13 games and four sacks last season. He was the target of an anonymous teammate's quote, blaming his lack of production on his lack of working out. Teammate Ryan Clark convinced him to work with his trainer in Arizona this year.

    "Whatever he's doing appears to be right," Butler said. "We'll see when we get to training camp. The biggest thing for him is we have to keep him on the field. We've talked to him about that, and he understands that. Lamar is a prideful man, and he understands that he has to play at a certain level to fulfill his contract, you might say. He's working at it."

    Woodley was a team sack leader before the series of injuries. He had 13.5 in 2009, 13 in 2010 including the postseason and nine through the first eight games of 2011.

    "The problem for him obviously is not being on the field," Butler said. "He has to be on the field. That's with anybody. It doesn't matter why you're not on the field, you're not on the field."

    Adams watches practice

    Offensive tackle Mike Adams watched practice from the sideline dressed in sweats after a doctor's appointment at the Steelers training facility. It was his second appearance at the South Side facility since he was stabbed in the stomach and arm June 1 on Carson Street, but the first time he attended practice.
    The Steelers did not permit him to talk to the media.

    LeBeau not looking far ahead

    LeBeau, who turns 76 the day after the Steelers' opening game of the season, would not be pinned down on how long he hopes to keep coaching their defense.
    "I don't worry too much about the future," LeBeau said. "Some of us don't have as much future as others."


    Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/...#ixzz2W7Ze0iPk
    Last edited by SteelCrazy; 06-13-2013 at 03:17 PM.

  5. #25
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    Will Jarvis Jones muscle his way into the outside linebacker slot?

    By Rebecca Rollett on Jun 26 2013



    The Steelers have typically drafted smallish defensive ends to convert to outside linebacker. This has obviously been a successful strategy for them for the most part, but it does reduce the likelihood of said college defensive ends reaching the field as a starter in their rookie year to essentially zero.

    Typically the Steelers haven’t been in a hurry to get their conversion projects onto the field, as there have been good options already available, and reasonable depth behind the starters.

    This year, as we all know, is different. James Harrison is gone, and his putative replacement, Jason Worilds, has been frequently injured. Worilds’ best chance to transfer the ROLB mantle to his own shoulders would have been last season, when Harrison was struggling to recover from knee surgery. But Worilds was out with a wrist injury for the entire pre-season, and by the time he was ready to play Harrison was back on the field, although it took a good bit more time before he was looking like himself. When Worilds has seen the field he hasn’t been an embarrassment, but he hasn’t by any means set the league on fire, and last year wasn't his finest.

    Worilds finished with a -4.3 rating from Pro Football Focus. For comparison, LaMarr Woodley finished with a +1.3 and James Harrison with a +2.9. Of the 3-4 OLBs who played the most last season, Harrison ranked 10th (out of 34,) Woodley ranked 13th, and Worilds ranked 23rd, right behind Terrell Suggs. This was a comedown for the whole squad, as in 2011 Harrison ranked 6th, Woodley 10th, and Worilds 13th. (Harrison's 2.9 for 2012 was also quite a comedown from his 19.4 rating in 2011 and his 36.2 rating in 2010.)

    Worilds might be the heir apparent, but it isn’t by any means a given. If the Steelers had managed to re-sign Harrison to the incentive-laden deal he turned down, he would presumably have also provided another impediment to Jones’ debut, but it was not to be. Instead we are all forced to watch the Bengals to see what might have been, for good or ill.*

    But perhaps the major factor giving Jones a reasonable chance to start in Pittsburgh is the fact that he played OLB in an NFL-style defensive system in college. This gives him an enormous advantage over most of the players drafted in recent years to play OLB. As Linebackers Coach Keith Butler said to Ed Bouchette, quoted in a recent Post Gazette article:

    "The best thing for him [Jones] is his background, he played linebacker at Georgia, so he understands concepts as opposed to being a defensive end who doesn't know anything.

    He's picked some things up. There's a lot we're throwing at him right now, as we do everybody. He's still learning, but he's learning at a quicker pace than most guys we drafted at that position as a defensive end."

    This does not imply a small learning curve for Jones, though—just a smaller one than usual. Although it might have been an NFL-style defense, the Georgia scheme was a great deal simpler and more straightforward than that of defensive wizard Dick LeBeau. In fact it is the complexity of this defensive scheme which has both made it so hard to crack for opposing offenses and so difficult to learn for rookies. Another quote from the above-mentioned PG article is telling:

    Jones is learning to drop into pass coverage in spring practices more than anything else.

    "He's done well in the drops, but, when he was in college, he kind of freelanced a little bit," Butler said. "We're a little bit more disciplined in terms of what we ask him to do and the technique we ask him to use in the passing game.

    "All he did was drop straight back and look at the quarterback. He was 5 yards off the ball looking at the quarterback. We ask him to do a lot of different things in terms of pass coverage, and that's not one of them. I have to get him out of that habit a little bit, and he's willing to get out of that habit.""

    That "habit" is thoroughly built into his muscle memory, and he will have to painfully unlearn it if he wants a chance to start. And although Butler downplayed the extent of the issue, he knows perfectly well that Jones will have to do more than "get out of the habit a little bit." He's going to have to essentially eradicate the instinctive reflexes he used in the Georgia scheme.

    Before we go any farther let's get this out of the way—we aren't really talking about muscles remembering anything. We're talking about the sequence of actions burned into the brain which allows the player to perform a task or set of tasks without conscious thought. But whatever mechanism we are talking about, the question remains—how do you do that?

    Well, it’s a bit like the old canard—"How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice." But not just any old sort of practice. It takes intense concentration during the practice to make sure you’re actually learning the new information correctly. As this article, Muscle Memory: A Coaches Perspective, states:

    So how do you successfully override it [the former unwanted neural pathway]? With conscious effort. You must concentrate on the new skill that is to replace the previous habit and they must do so until the new muscle memory pattern is established. Not just one practice session, one day, or even one week. It may take weeks, months, or even years.

    It’s a good thing I didn’t read this before my recital, as I might have despaired. Fortunately old age and trickery overcame the ingrained muscle memory to a sufficient degree so I didn’t embarrass myself. It also helped that I’m an old hand at performing, because nervousness creates its own problems.

    Tony Sanchez was drafted in the first round by the Pirates in 2009 to be their catcher of the future, or so I presume. He was called up to the big leagues for the first time last week and joined the Pirates in Los Angeles to act as a designated hitter. Sanchez didn’t get his first at-bat until Sunday's game, and here’s what happened, as per ESPN:

    "When I walked up to the plate, my legs started shaking uncontrollably," Sanchez said. "I told (Angels catcher Chris) Iannetta: `I can't stop shaking. I don't know what to do.' And he said: `Just breathe. Just breathe.' So I took one step out of the box and took a breath, but that didn't help. Then Blanton threw me a ball that I could handle. It felt really good off the bat..."

    Sanchez reverted to his instincts, which fortunately were good, and hit a ground-rule double (it stuck in a gap under the visitor’s scoreboard.) I hope Sanchez thought to thank Ianetta after the game, although Sanchez's double didn't actually result in a run, so in this case Ianetta's good deed did apparently go unpunished.

    But if Jones has to revert to his instincts, the "drop back and look straight at the quarterback" thing had better be gone or he’s going to screw up the whole defensive scheme. The speed of the NFL game is such that if you are trying to think you’re probably too late.

    This article, written about the 2011 game in which DT Steve McLendon had to start when both Hampton and Chris Hoke were out, discusses dealing with performance anxiety. Although there is a great deal of detail in the article, for my purposes the salient point is this:

    Miguel Humara, the author of this article on treating performance anxiety, looked at the results of a number of studies on the subject. One of his conclusions was that "cognitive anxiety was best predicted by an evaluation of previous performances, individual's perception of preparedness, and goal setting."

    In a situation where the coaching staff has a choice, whether they start a known (but thus far not overly impressive) quantity like Jason Worilds or a less-known one like Jarvis Jones may well, in the end, come down to their perception of how confident Jones is in the new scheme and how convinced they are of his preparation. I'm willing to bet Keith Butler is watching Jones like a hawk in training camp to see how instinctive the new scheme is becoming for him and how frequently, if ever, he appears to revert to his old habits.

    Will Jarvis Jones be the first Steelers rookie linebacker to start since Jack Ham? Only his muscles (and his coaches) know for sure. We won't find out until September.

    *The question of muscle memory could also impact how well Harrison does with the Bengals. His history doesn’t suggest he is a fast learner, so I’m inclined to think that how well he does will be directly tied to how willing the Bengals’ coaching staff is to just let him play what he knows, instead of trying too hard to adapt him to their system. This is assuming his body holds up, of course, which with his injury history is hardly a given.

    http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com...inebacker-slot

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