Now that the regular season has begun, following yet another year of disappointment, a fourth consecutive season with no postseason victories, it’s time to take stock of where the Pittsburgh Steelers stand. Specifically where Steelers players stand individually based on what we have seen and are seeing over the course of the offseason and the regular season as it plays out. We will also be reviewing players based on their previous season and their prospects for the future. A stock evaluation can take a couple of different approaches and I’ll try to make clear my reasoning. In some cases, it will be based on more long-term trends. In other instances, it will be a direct response to something that just happened. Because of this, we can and will see a player more than once over the course of the season as we move forward.
Player: OLB Jamir Jones
Stock Value: Up
Reasoning: The first-year outside linebacker is likely to see some significant action in today’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals with Alex Highsmith ruled out and T.J. Watt potentially sidelined, or less than 100 percent, as well.
Jamir Jones was a training camp darling, and impressed during the preseason. He showed enough to make the Steelers comfortable carrying him as their fourth outside linebacker over draft pick Quincy Roche and veteran Cassius Marsh.
That is a far cry from being a regular contributor to a regular-season defense, however, which is well what may be asked of him today. Alex Highsmith has already been ruled out, and at least as of the time of this writing, it is not known if T.J. Watt will play, both dealing with groin injuries.
Even if Watt does play, he may not be 100 percent effective, and they may manage his snap count. Melvin Ingram has actually logged the most snaps at the position in each of the first two weeks. With Highsmith and Watt slowed by groin injuries in the last game, however, Jones had to get on the field, doing so to the tune of 15 snaps.
He was credited with two assisted tackles and a quarterback hit for his efforts, but by and large, he didn’t play a lot, and he didn’t do a lot. There is a possibility that he is actually going to have to start today, and that is a pretty big deal.
It won’t be just those two, however, either way. They have two edge rushers on the practice squad in Derrek Tuszka and Taco Charlton, who was fittingly signed this past Tuesday. Charlton is a former first-round draft pick.
This is a big opportunity for Jones to show that he can compete at this level. if he can get in some good reps and not look like a liability, that would be a major win for him, even if his home otherwise remains on special teams.