End-of-season player exit meetings are not something that we are often privy to as outsiders of the football world. Generally, we only get a glimpse into that world when a player is asked by a reporter how the meeting went, if the player is willing to discuss it.
Still, it’s not generally a hard concept to grasp, and we have a pretty good feel by now of how Mike Tomlin and his staff likes to operate, and we see all the game film, so it’s not an overly difficult project to simulate. If we were to administer the end-of-season player exit meetings, it might go something like this.
Player: Jarvis Jones
Position: Outside Linebacker
Experience: 2 Years
I think it’s safe to say that what follows will not be the transcript to the exit meeting for second-year outside linebacker Jarvis Jones that everybody was hoping to be reading before the season started. How much that is due to his early injury is still unclear, and will not be resolved until the 2015 season gets under way.
Jones, of course, only got about two and a half games into his second season when he slammed his wrist on a teammate, suffering an injury that ultimately landed him in the injured reserve; designated to return list.
In those first two and a half games, however, he did record two sacks and forced a fumble, which the Steelers recovered. Those are some decent statistics, but of course the stats don’t tell the complete story about how those plays unfolded.
Both of his sacks were a bit out of the ordinary, and didn’t display any true pass rushing ability against an offensive lineman. The second one that caused a fumble was nearly accidental.
On the plus side, however, he did seem to be playing and reacting more quickly, which is of course a primary source of development for second-year players, but that was not an unexpected progression for Jones.
The sample size is unfortunately small, but it seemed that his play against the run fluctuated, and he had a particularly hard time against the Browns’ rushing concepts—it also didn’t hurt that he played opposite an All-Pro.
Jones recorded 12 tackles in his first two games of the season, but only six for the rest of the year. Of course, he never played a full game for the rest of the season. Jones did not return until the last four games of the season, and when he did so, it was in a rotation, and not as a starter.
In his first two games back, he split time heavily with Arthur Moats, during which he primarily rushed the passer, doing so ineffectively, but in the last two games, with James Harrison returning, he saw hardly any snaps at all, which continued into the playoffs.
In his third year, the training wheels will have to be completely off, and he will either have to become what the Steelers need him to be or he will quite simply fail. He knows the work that he has to do this offseason, including getting stronger, but I don’t know too many people who are sold on it all getting done.