2022 Training Camp Questions: What Made Steelers Go Back To Jamir Jones Over Derrek Tuszka?

The Steelers are at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, informally known as the South Side facility, now into the regular season. It’s where they otherwise train all year round, and the facility that Burt Lauten insists everybody refers to by its full name.

There are still unsettled questions that need answering, even deep into the regular season. They entered the process with questions in the starting lineup, in scheme, and elsewhere, but new problems always arise that need to be resolved.

Even questions about who’s starting and when may not have satisfactory answers in their finality, as midseason changes are certainly quite possible, for some positions more than others. We’re also feeling out how the new coordinator posts—or posts in new contexts—end up playing out.

There’s never any shortage of questions when it comes to football, and we’ll be discussing them here on a daily basis for the community to “talk amongst yourselves”, as Linda Richman might say on Coffee Talk.

Question: What made the Steelers go back to Jamir Jones after waiving him for the exact same player they just waived to reclaim him now?

The Steelers waived Jamir Jones on September 28 last season after just a couple of games. They did so after watching Derrek Tuszka in a couple of practices and a game, coming to the conclusion that he would offer the team more, perhaps on special teams primarily.

No doubt they were hoping that Jones would clear waivers and that they would be able to re-sign him to their practice squad and continue to develop him, but it is nevertheless interesting that 11 months later, on their first opportunity to bring him back, they did so.

Jones was claimed by the Los Angeles Rams, who retained him on the roster for most of the season until late December, when he was waived again, this time claimed by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who had a (much) higher waiver claim. He remained in Jacksonville until he was just waived again last week.

As a brief aside, it actually is somewhat remarkable that a player like Jones would be claimed off waivers three times within a one-year period the way that he has been, now finally circling back to Pittsburgh, the first team to really give him a chance.

But it does raise the question, given that they waived Derrek Tuszka to claim him, what they like about him more now than they did 11 months ago, or vice versa in Tuszka. Or did they simply decide that they made a mistake and never should have risked exposing Jones to waivers?

In the grand scheme of things, it’s a pretty minor transaction either way, at least based on where the respective careers of the two players in question are right now. The Steelers also acquired Malik Reed, who will be their top reserve at the outside linebacker position. Whether or not it’s hugely important, though, it still makes me wonder. There are, of course, different evaluators running the show now in comparison to 11 months ago, so that’s a factor as well. Maybe Mike Tomlin liked Jones more than Kevin Colbert did.

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