In the Thursday night regular season opening loss to the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense was outplayed for most of the game. However, while few, there were some individual performances during the game that can be considered bright spots and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was one of those players.
While Jones only played 24 snaps on defense Thursday night, he did have one series of plays midway through the second quarter that shows us he has made some progress since being drafted in the first round several years ago.
The first play I want to show you, a run by Dion Lewis with 8:06 left in the second quarter, features Jones shocking left tackle Nate Solder back off the snap with a powerful two-handed punch. He is easily disengaged at that point and stops Lewis dead in his tracks for no gain. I have watched every play of Jones’ short career and this may very well be his single-best play against the run so far. By the way, the Patriots just signed Solder to a two-year, $20.62 million contract extension a few days ago. Yikes!
On the very next play, we see Jones exhibit some power as he’s able to walk Solder back into the pocket. Brady still completes the pass on this play, but it was a good snap for Jones nonetheless.
Dating back to his college days at Georgia, Jones has never really showed the ability to bend around the corner. He’s never going to be great at it, but we did probably see him show the most bend we have seen since he was drafted in the play below. His rush did force Brady from the pocket on this play.
On this fourth and final consecutive play, Jones is able to work off of the block of the tight end while setting the edge and he winds up getting an arm on Lewis. He was not credited with an assist on the play, but it was a good effort nonetheless.
Jones came out of the game after the play above and I think that you’ll agree that it was a nice series for him. He’ll need to string together several more of those this season as he’s due to have his fifth-year option picked up next offseason.