In the Pittsburgh Steelers first two games of the 2016 regular season, fourth-year linebacker Jarvis Jones has played nearly 74% of all defensive snaps. Nearly half of those 99 snaps have featured Jones lining up somewhere on the left side of the defense and on Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked to explain the reasoning behind that.
“Jarvis has played well for us and we want to find ways to continue to allow him to play even as we rotate others in,” said Tomlin. “So he’s been the guy that we’ve identified that’s capable of playing on either side and its just simply that.”
In the Steelers first two regular season games, Jones, who is now in the final year of his rookie contract after the Steelers decided not to pick up his fifth-year option during the offseason, has recorded 8 total tackles. 5 have come on running plays with the other 3 coming after pass receptions.
Later during his press conference, Tomlin was asked to expound on his praise for Jones and if it’s mainly a result of position functionality.
“Just a natural maturation process of being here four years now,” said Tomlin. “I would imagine that there’s not only increased growth in terms of what to do, but the detail within that and ultimately that probably what produces positive play not only for him, but for anyone.”
While Jarvis has continued to improve his play against the run since he was originally drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft out of Georgia, his development as a pass rusher still needs quite a bit of improvement. According to the updated stats released by the Steelers on Tuesday, Jones has yet to record a single pressure so far this season. That stat, however, is shared by many Steelers defensive players as the team has recorded just 3 total pressures and one sack in their first two games.
Against the Philadelphia Eagles this coming Sunday, you can probably expect Jones to play roughly 75% of the defensive snaps with half of those likely including him lining up on the left side.