PITTSBURGH -- If the Pittsburgh Steelers were trying to send a message to rookie Jarvis Jones by moving him to second on the depth chart at right outside linebacker, LaMarr Woodley won’t be the one reinforcing that message to the first-round draft pick.
“In this game, and it’s not just with Jarvis, my whole mindset is you just have to be self-motivated,” Woodley said. “You understand what this job requires. If you need somebody to come in and lift you up all of the time, you’ve got to do it yourself.
"I’ve got nothing against Jarvis. Nothing at all. We talk every day. His spirit is high. If I felt his spirit was low or something, I would go talk to him.”
The reality is Jones is now behind Jason Worilds because he simply can’t be counted on to log significant snaps after he lost contain several times in the Steelers’ 21-18 loss at Oakland despite playing sparingly last Sunday.
What is worrisome is that Jones has regressed instead of improved as the season has progressed. What is not surprising is that Jones has struggled while trying to learn a complex defense -- and to play without thinking too much when he is on the field.
It didn’t help Jones’ growth that he lost an entire week of practice after sustaining a concussion in the Steelers’ 19-6 win against the Jets on Oct. 13. It is also worth noting that no Steelers outside linebacker started as a rookie since the team went to a 3-4 defense prior to Jones.
“I’m not going to get it overnight,” Jones said of the Steelers’ defense. “I think a lot of people know that and understand that so for me I’ve just got to stay confident and keep building on it. Things change week to week. We install new plays. We do different stuff against people that we’re playing against. I’ve just got to keep being positive about the situation.”
Jones has seemingly done that instead of getting discouraged, and he appears to have embraced tackling the challenges ahead of him as he adjusts to the NFL game.
“I’ve got to continue to get work, get in the film room more, better my technique, just be productive and make plays,” said Jones, who has 18 tackles and three quarterback pressures. “I respect this game. I love it. I am just going to keep trying to get better and be ready for my opportunity.”