After surprisingly making the 53-man roster out of training camp thanks to his dominance in the preseason, Jamir Jones is not done putting in the work.
As the fourth outside linebacker on the Steelers’ roster, Jones appeared ticketed for special teams duties throughout the 2021 season, but now – just two games into the season — Jones is in line for more defensive snaps as standouts like T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith continue to deal with groin injuries that will hold Highsmith out of the Week 3 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals, while Watt will be limited and likely on a snap count.
Knowing he’s in line for more work, Jones has been like a sponge, according to Watt, soaking up all the information he can gain, while also receiving some praise from defensive coordinator Keith Butler, who stated that the young pass rusher has good hands, leading to his rapid development.
“Oh, he’s got good hands,” Butler said of Jones. “He’s got real good hands. And Karl [Dunbar] has done a great job with him in terms of rushing and stuff like that. So, he does a great job in using his hands when he rushes the passer as all good pass rushers do.”
Hearing Butler praise Jones was something that caught Watt and others off guard, considering Jones is a young guy. However, Watt said the praise was warranted as Jones has really taken everything in stride, been willing to learn every single day, and is only going to continue getting better in Pittsburgh.
That has to be music to the ears of the Steelers and its fan base.
“I’m not used to hearing Keith compliment young guys like that,” Watt said to reporters Friday according to Steelers.com. So, like I said, the longer you’re around guys like this and like me, Melvin and Alex, and if you want to absorb as much information as you can, you can; we’re all open books and he’s been a guy who’s asked a lot of questions, who’s paid close attention to all the drills that we’ve done and you see the improvement on a week to week basis. And he’s only going to continue to get better.”
Jones will certainly be in the rotation on Sunday against the Bengals and could really have his first true coming-out party in the NFL, facing off against tackles Jonah Williams and Riley Reiff for the Bengals. Jones will get the chance to rush the passer against an offensive line that has allowed a league-high 10 sacks through two weeks, battering second-year pro Joe Burrow in the process.
With good hands and the willingness to soak up all the knowledge and experience he can, don’t be surprised if Jones makes an immediate impact on Sunday, continuing to uphold the Steelers’ standard defensively.