Jamir Jones says the best part about doing his job is getting to play on special teams. Turns out, it’s also the best way to earn a job, too. Jones made the 53-man roster for a strong summer performance across the board but it’s likely his dominance on special teams, a team-high six tackles, that got him the nod over a veteran like Cassius Marsh and rookie in Quincy Roche.
After making the 53-man roster, and a good bet to stick there, too, Jones talked about how special teams created his path to a roster spot.
“Just go. See ball, get ball,” Jones said via the team when asked about his mentality there. “It’s the most fun you can have on the field. It’s like playing in the backyard. Shoot him up, bust him up with all your friends. See ball, get ball. Just use your athleticism and your length, you get to use everything. Your speed, power, everything. I just love it.”
Jones was seeing and getting the ball quite a bit this summer. Especially in the preseason finale, a 3.5 special teams-tackle performance that may have etched his spot onto the roster. Jones consistently showed up in training camp, making plays against the run, against quarterbacks, and against return men. According to our defensive charting, his eight pressures were second most on the team only trailing Alex Highsmith’s nine.
Jones told reporters how the team let him know he beat the odds and made the squad.
“As soon as I got off the field, Mike T and Mr. Colbert, they came right over to me and they were just basically saying they were going to give me a shot. And said, can I be in Pittsburgh by Monday? I said, ‘hell yeah.’
Now the Steelers’ #4 outside linebacker behind T.J. Watt, Highsmith, and Melvin Ingram, Jones’ primary role will be a special teamer. Someone who is likely to be on the “core-four” units, the kick and punt return/coverage teams. It’s a path many Steelers have taken before elevating their roles and paths many Steelers have carved out key niches in. From Chidi Iwuoma to Tyler Matakevich to Jordan Dangerfield, there are Steelers who have spent years in the league because of their special teams value.
Jones is a long ways away from being mentioned in that kind of company. But his play and his attitude puts him on the right track.