In Tuesday’s press conference, Mike Tomlin was very to the point about who would be returning punts Sunday in Seattle. “Jacoby Jones” was all Tomlin gave in his reply.
Danny Smith helped clarify the reasons for the decision in his weekly Coordinator’s Corner interview with Bob Labriola on Steelers.com and Steelers Nation Radio.
“We brought him here for that purpose. We’re going to give him that opportunity. We need to get him going.”
Smith thinks Jones, as a lot of players on new teams do, tried to impress the coaching staff and consequently, made some rookie-level mistakes.
“A lot of times guys come to new teams and they try so hard to make a play, for acceptance. I think that occurred last week in the ball game. He’s trying so hard to make a play. Those guys become who they are because they take the plays as they come.”
His words match up with what we all saw two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns. Jones muffed a punt and struggled to properly get under kickoffs, leading to drops or being forced to take a knee.
Smith, however, remains confident about Jones.
“It will develop. He will get a play. Hopefully this week, we’ll see. But he’s trying so dang hard to make a play that he’s not concentrating on the fundamentals.”
If you’re looking for optimism, keep in mind Jones had great punt return numbers the last two years. In 2013, he averaged over 12 yards per return and in 2014, he finished over nine. He has four career punt returns for a touchdown though his last came in 2012.