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Thread: Wexell: OLB Jarvis Jones Making Steady Progress

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    Wexell: OLB Jarvis Jones Making Steady Progress

    OLB Jones Making Steady Progress

    By Jim Wexell
    SteelCityInsider.net
    Posted Aug 12, 2013



    Jarvis Jones (LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports)

    Steelers LB coach Keith Butler defends everything about rookie Jarvis Jones -- until Butler's asked for superlatives. Read how Jones is being coached up:

    LATROBE -- When a team blitzes the podium on draft day with the name of an outside linebacker in hand, that outside linebacker in turn is expected to blitz the quarterback like he's Lawrence Taylor.

    At least that's a fan's perspective.

    They, of course, are looking for sacks out of Steelers rookie Jarvis Jones.

    "Well, I am too," said linebackers coach Keith Butler. "I'm hoping for 15, 16 sacks, too. We talked about this today. But he's got to have a couple of rushes. He can't have all hand slaps, all getting on the edge of people. He's got to get down in the middle of people and what we call walk the dog on them, too."

    Walk the dog?

    "Collapse the pocket," Butler explained. "Take a 350-pound guy, get right up under his face, and walk him back to the quarterback."

    Jones showed glimpses of that ability Saturday night. He didn't get his sack but both he and Jason Worilds "walked the dog" at times the way the team's LOLB, LaMarr Woodley, can.

    Larry Foote has been saying since spring practices that the Steelers' coaching staff is looking to get all three of those outside linebackers on the field at the same time on some third downs this season. Foote repeated it yesterday.

    "We've got a lot of packages," Foote said. "They do some tricky stuff, especially on third down, a lot of different packages, so I see them all on the field doing stuff."

    But Butler would first just like to find a way to get all three on the field in some sort of rotation.

    "That's not a problem if we can keep them healthy and fresh," Butler said. "I want them to be, in the fourth quarter, when it gets (rug)-cutting time, I want them to be able to play without being tired."

    James Harrison, the man Jones hopes to replace completely some day, believed that rushing the passer off the edge was the most exhausting job in the game.

    "It is," Butler said. "You think about wrassling somebody every play that outweighs you by 60, 70 pounds, and you're wrassling with him every play and the coach is hollering 'Turn and run! Turn and run! Turn and run!' That's hard to do."

    Especially when that coach is also hollering about your responsibilities. That's what Butler is trying to teach his first- round pick right now.

    "There are some things, some defenses we call, where he's got to stay outside and stay within the discipline of the defense. And right now he's got to learn which is which," Butler said. "That's part of his transition, to learn 'When can I go inside?'

    "He's got a great inside move. He is as quick as anybody. When he gets that edge, or that inside move on you, it's very hard to stop him from getting to the quarterback. He's real good at that, but there are certain things, that, when we have a lot of things going on inside of him -- stunts and games and stuff like that -- that if he does go inside he's going to run into somebody. And so we don't want to put him in position where he's running into somebody else's rush lane. We want to keep him outside, so it's not just all him doing what he wants to. He's got to do what the defense requires."

    Of course, Harrison was thinking outside of his responsibilities in Super Bowl 43 and he made a pretty good play.

    "Then two years later he does the same thing and gets a touchdown scored on him by Tom Brady," Butler said. "Those are great when they work."

    Saturday night, in his first preseason game, Jones jumped on a fumble and made 2 tackles. He also held the point in the run game like a seasoned pro and late in the third quarter sniffed out a throwback screen and made a tackle in the open field that brought up fourth down.

    "Look how heavy his hands are," Butler said of Jones' run defense. "He's got real strong hands."

    And his coverage abilities?

    "When he went to Southern Cal, they recruited him as a middle linebacker, so he knows some coverage concepts," Butler said. "He doesn't know how to play with the intensity that he needs to be playing with. He's starting to learn what we expect from him. What we expect from him is a little bit more discipline than what he is used to in terms of pass-coverage techniques.

    "I don't want to coach him out of being a good football player. There's a fine line in doing that, but at the same time there are some things you've got to do in pass coverage that if you don't do you're going to get beat."

    NOTES -- Le'Veon Bell returned to practice and ran hard and made sharp cuts. ... Rookie CB Terry Hawthorne also returned to the practice field after missing most of the first two weeks of camp with a knee injury, which also kept him out of spring practices. ... ILB Stevenson Sylvester suffered a sprained ankle Saturday night when he took a hit from teammate Markus Wheaton. Sylvester said he'll return to practice Thursday. ... The Steelers finished practice without their second-team guards when Chris Hubbard didn't suit up and Justin Cheadle was carted off with a leg injury. ... NT Steve McLendon was permitted to join his wife, who was due with their child yesterday.

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    Legend hawaiiansteel's Avatar
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    Retraining top pick is key to his future

    By Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

    The education of Jarvis Jones continued Monday as the Steelers stepped into their third and final week of training camp still looking for the "wow" factor from their first-round draft pick.

    They expect it to come, and they expected it to evolve the way it has. No rookie has claimed a starting outside linebacker job with the Steelers in the previous 31 years they've run the 3-4 defense and, barring injury, Jones might not be the first. What his coaches would like to do is rotate him into the defense the way they did in 2007 with the rookie LaMarr Woodley.

    As with a young bronco, first they have to break Jones of certain habits, like doing whatever it was he felt like doing in Georgia's 3-4 defense.

    "He has a great inside move," said Keith Butler, who is in his 11th season coaching the Steelers linebackers. "He is as quick as anybody and, when he gets that inside move on you, it's very hard to stop him from getting to the quarterback. He's very good at that.

    "But ... we have a lot of things going on inside him with stunts and games and things like that, that if he does go inside he's going to run into somebody. And so we don't want to put him in a position where he's running into someone else's rush lane. We want to keep him outside.

    "It's not just all him doing what he wants to all the time. He's got to do what the defense requires more than anything else."

    Even those who have played as long as Butler has coached must fight that. Troy Polamalu admittedly guessed wrong Saturday night, and it cost the Steelers a touchdown. Sometimes, the freelancing works, too.

    "James Harrison did it in the Super Bowl and gets a touchdown," Butler recalled. "Then, two years later, he does the same and gets a touchdown scored on him by Tom Brady. Those are great when they work. Just make sure you're doing it at the right time."

    Not only is Butler working with Jones on being in the right place, he wants to see a variety of pass-rush moves. Jones made a few good plays Saturday, recovering a fumble and tackling a tight end on third down, but no New York Giants quarterback felt his breath.

    Jones, most of all, was drafted because he is a pass rusher, and fans want to see, oh, 15-16 sacks from him.

    "I'm hoping for 15-16 sacks, too," Butler said. "We talked about this [Monday]. He has to have a couple of rushes. You can't have all hand slaps, all getting on the edge of people. He has to get down and what we call walk the dog -- collapse the pocket, taking the big, freaking, 350-pound guy, getting right in his face and walking him back to the quarterback."

    He's capable of doing that, his coach said, and he has been working on his hands with Steelers broadcaster Tunch Ilkin, their former Pro Bowl offensive tackle.

    "You look how heavy his hands are, he has real strong hands," Butler said.

    The Steelers plan to move him around inside as well in their nickel pass defenses and let him rush from there. Southern California recruited him as a middle linebacker, and Butler said he has the instincts to play that position, but ...

    "He is where we want him," Butler said. "He fits us like a lot of people don't fit us."

    They felt lucky to draft him with the 17th overall pick. Their doctors discounted the neck problem that doctors at Southern California supposedly discovered and led to him not playing there. The Steelers also pooh-poohed the 4.9-second 40-yard dash he ran for the scouts at his pro day.

    "I think he plays plenty fast at that position," Butler said. "I don't think he's 4.9 by any means.

    "Everybody wants the 40 time. Coaches want to see him play. Scouts want to see all the measurables, so, if they don't have a 40 time, they're freaking out going into the draft room: 'We don't have a 40 time on this guy.' So we're constantly looking for that.

    "So we go down to his workout and his hamstring is still bothering him, so he runs the 40 and he pulls up right at the end and they take a 4.9 from it, so everybody puts a 4.9 on him.

    "He doesn't play at 4.9. You look at the film, it doesn't show a 4.9."

    What would he run without the hamstring problem?

    "I don't know," Butler said. "I think he probably runs a 4.7, 4.8."

    Plenty fast, Butler said. Now they need him to start walking the dog.

    Bell returns to practice

    Rookie halfback Le'Veon Bell returned to practice with the rest of his teammates Monday and wants to join them for their next game as well Monday against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.

    Kirby Wilson is looking forward to that almost as much as Bell.

    "Hopefully, this is the week he can go out there and show us what he's capable of doing," said Wilson, who coaches the running backs.

    Bell already has impressed Wilson through the first two weeks of training camp, although part of that and the entire game Saturday were disrupted by a knee bruise that occurred 10 days ago.

    "He hasn't had a mental error the entire camp, which is rare. I've never in my 16 years in the league seen that happen. He's sharp. It's his background."

    Bell has a chance to become the first rookie to win the starting job since Bam Morris started six games in 1994.The Steelers do not want another halfback-by-committee that injuries forced on them in 2012.

    "Nobody wants that, not your players, not a coach," Wilson said. "You want your guy out there all the time. Hopefully, we'll develop somebody like that."

    Quick hits

    Wilson liked how Jonathan Dwyer ran Saturday night, but he would like to see him handle the ball better as a receiver.

    "He had only one carry we all disagreed with his decision with the ball. We'd like to have seen him make a couple plays in the passing game when he touched the ball, and that didn't happen. But he's a capable receiver, and we expect him to perform a little bit better in that area."

    Wilson and Butler said special-teams coach Danny Smith could decide who the final roster spots go to in the backfield and at linebacker, and maybe wide receiver and defensive back.

    "Your backup guys have to be great special-teams players," Butler said. "It will come down to who Danny Smith likes because the competition will be that close."

    Said Wilson, "That's the key for a lot of them. Your competition is not really in my room, it's the extra DBs, the extra linebackers. We have some young linebackers who can hit and run, so it's going to be pretty competitive here the next few weeks."

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    The Steelers plan to move him around inside as well in their nickel pass defenses and let him rush from there.
    Ooh...that sounds pretty darn sweet right there. Timmons and Jarvis standing up next to each other on the inside...both show incredible capabilities on a blitz up the middle...behind a 4 man line featuring Woodley and Worilds rushing from the outside with their hands in the dirt, and some rotating combinations of 2 DT's inside from the likes of Keisel/McLendon/Hood/Heyward/Woods.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by hawaiiansteel View Post

    "I'm hoping for 15-16 sacks, too," Butler said. "We talked about this [Monday]. He has to have a couple of rushes. You can't have all hand slaps, all getting on the edge of people. He has to get down and what we call walk the dog -- collapse the pocket, taking the big, freaking, 350-pound guy, getting right in his face and walking him back to the quarterback."

    He's capable of doing that, his coach said, and he has been working on his hands with Steelers broadcaster Tunch Ilkin, their former Pro Bowl offensive tackle.

    "You look how heavy his hands are, he has real strong hands," Butler said.
    Is he capable of that?

    This dude aint thick and powerful bull like Harrison or a DL in disguise like Woodley.
    Seems to me that ANY tackle who can be "walked" back to the QB by someone of Jarvis Jones size should not be starting.

    They keep talking about his "heavy hands". That "strength" allows him to disengage an OLineman trying to tie him up.
    For him to DELIBERATELY engage an olineman who BOTH outweighs him and is MUCH STRONGER seems to be playing AGAINST his skillset.

    How do you "teach" a rookie to do that? If he puts on 20 pounds of beef like JH maybe someday.

    It seems to me he has to play more like Llloyd or Porter than JH to be effective.

    I loved the pick but if we "need" that ability, in our linebackers we drafted the wrong guy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Lemming View Post
    Is he capable of that?

    This dude aint thick and powerful bull like Harrison or a DL in disguise like Woodley.
    Seems to me that ANY tackle who can be "walked" back to the QB by someone of Jarvis Jones size should not be starting.

    They keep talking about his "heavy hands". That "strength" allows him to disengage an OLineman trying to tie him up.
    For him to DELIBERATELY engage an olineman who BOTH outweighs him and is MUCH STRONGER seems to be playing AGAINST his skillset.

    How do you "teach" a rookie to do that? If he puts on 20 pounds of beef like JH maybe someday.

    It seems to me he has to play more like Llloyd or Porter than JH to be effective.

    I loved the pick but if we "need" that ability, in our linebackers we drafted the wrong guy.




    I find this funny. Jarvis is BIGGER & THICKER, and stronger & faster then T-Suggs was when he came out, and Suggs got 12.5 Sacks his rookie season. And has been in 6 Pro Bowls. So why is it that Jones cannot do the same thing ? I don't care how Big and strong a OLB/DE is, he will NEVER be as Big or as strong as the O-Linemen he is going up against. TECHNIQUE,,,Not Bull Strength or even speed is the KEY to any Defensive player who is special. And Jarvis Jones has the BEST Hand moves, under-Arm moves and spin moves to free himself to the QB then ANY Defensive player in the past 15 to 20 years.


    Lets NOT keep him on the sidelines....we have to UNLEASH him!!!

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by sedatedsteelerfan View Post
    I find this funny. Jarvis is BIGGER & THICKER, and stronger & faster then T-Suggs was when he came out, and Suggs got 12.5 Sacks his rookie season. And has been in 6 Pro Bowls. So why is it that Jones cannot do the same thing ? I don't care how Big and strong a OLB/DE is, he will NEVER be as Big or as strong as the O-Linemen he is going up against. TECHNIQUE,,,Not Bull Strength or even speed is the KEY to any Defensive player who is special. And Jarvis Jones has the BEST Hand moves, under-Arm moves and spin moves to free himself to the QB then ANY Defensive player in the past 15 to 20 years.


    Lets NOT keep him on the sidelines....we have to UNLEASH him!!!
    You miss my point ENTIRELY.

    I LIKED the pick. for the VERY REASONS YOU GIVE.

    Those are HIS STRENGTHS......AS I DESCRIBED IN MY post.

    My point is that he will not succeed trying to "walk the blocker back" to the QB ala James Harrison (who BTW "IS" as strong or stronger than many olinemen).
    Seems frankly THE OPPOSITE of what he needs to do.

    If THAT is what they expect, he aint the dude to do it.

    I am NOT saying Jarvis wont be effective, he just does it differently than what they are trying to teach him.

    Lloyd or Chad Brown never did not lock up with olinement and "walk them back" to the QB to make sacks and they did fine.

    Use those strong hands to disengage and use quick to get to the QB. Teaching him do just the opposite makes not sense to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Lemming View Post
    You miss my point ENTIRELY.

    I LIKED the pick. for the VERY REASONS YOU GIVE.

    Those are HIS STRENGTHS......AS I DESCRIBED IN MY post.

    My point is that he will not succeed trying to "walk the blocker back" to the QB ala James Harrison (who BTW "IS" as strong or stronger than many olinemen).
    Seems frankly THE OPPOSITE of what he needs to do.

    If THAT is what they expect, he aint the dude to do it.

    I am NOT saying Jarvis wont be effective, he just does it differently than what they are trying to teach him.

    Lloyd or Chad Brown never did not lock up with olinement and "walk them back" to the QB to make sacks and they did fine.

    Use those strong hands to disengage and use quick to get to the QB. Teaching him do just the opposite makes not sense to me.
    The idea behind what Butler stated is not necessarily to get sacks but to create pressure on the QB. Perceived pressure is sometimes the goal. I don't believe the number of sacks are as important as the pressure that's created. It seems the coaches want Jones to have more ways to create pressure on the QB. That way, Jones can have more ways to set up Olinemen and create pressure or get sacks.

    All the OLB that I've watched play in the defense engaged Olinemen and bull rushed.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by BURGH86STEEL View Post
    All the OLB that I've watched play in the defense engaged Olinemen and bull rushed.
    Bull rush as in explode into the blocker hoping to get him off balance, sure. If a tackle is too upright fearing your speed to get around him such a bull rush is great.

    Literally driving an OT back "walking him" back like Harrison (who squats 700 plus and benched over 500 in his prime) did routinely, no all our linebackers did not do that.
    What Harrison does is an act of brute strength that guys like Lloyd simply were incapable of.

    No amount of "technique" can fix that.

    Let me put it this way.
    If I am an OT, I CAN ONLY HOPE that Jarvis tries to "walk me back", rather than using his great ability to disengage and blow past me.
    I would see that as playing to my advantage every time.

  9. #9
    I don't understand the comparison to Suggs. Suggs ran a 4.8 at 260 lbs. while Jones ran a 4.9 and is 245 lbs. Also Jones isn't some young rookie. He'll be 24 in 2 months. If he puts on more weight it will slow him down even more. He also has a 60 KEI. His numbers are closer to Clark Haggans than Suggs. Again guy has played in a 3-4 in the best conference in the country. He has 2 moves right now. I hope he works out but he has a hell of a hill to climb.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Lemming View Post
    Bull rush as in explode into the blocker hoping to get him off balance, sure. If a tackle is too upright fearing your speed to get around him such a bull rush is great.

    Literally driving an OT back "walking him" back like Harrison (who squats 700 plus and benched over 500 in his prime) did routinely, no all our linebackers did not do that.
    What Harrison does is an act of brute strength that guys like Lloyd simply were incapable of.

    No amount of "technique" can fix that.

    Let me put it this way.
    If I am an OT, I CAN ONLY HOPE that Jarvis tries to "walk me back", rather than using his great ability to disengage and blow past me.
    I would see that as playing to my advantage every time.
    I suppose you don't understand what Butler is attempting to teach Jones.

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