If you asked me who the Steelers’ most valuable player is, I’d probably say it’s Ben Roethlisberger. If I went down the list of the team’s most valuable, Jarvis Jones would probably be pretty far down that list.
However, I think that sophomore outside linebacker, Jarvis Jones may be the difference between an okay Steelers team, and a great one. Let me explain…
I’m making plenty of assumptions here, but I think that the Steelers offense is going to be a well-oiled, balanced, machine this season.
However, I think that the Steelers’ struggles in the redzone will keep the offense from being the kind that can carry a whole team.
I think that whether or not the defense improves this season will determine whether or not they’re a team that really scares people.
I think that pretty much every Steelers fan knows that the Steelers defense only works if they are getting pressure on the quarterback. The defense hasn’t looked elite since James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley were both playing at a very high level.
The severe lack of turnovers has been an obvious problem, which again, are caused by getting pressure on the quarterback.
Certainly guys like Cameron Heyward and Lawrence Timmons could help in that department; but the majority of that responsibility falls on the shoulders of Jarvis Jones and Jason Worilds.
Jason Worilds finally had a breakout season in 2013 notching 8 sacks in limited playing time. Most accounts out of camp are that Worilds is looking strong, and ready to go.
I feel comfortable saying Worilds, if healthy, should be somewhere around the 10 sack mark, especially considering he’s playing for a contract.
That leaves Jones. The Steelers actually managed to put a string of wins together towards the end of the last season, despite very little pressure coming from anyone other than Worilds.
The last good Steelers defense was in 2011 when James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley each notched 9 sacks. If Jones and Worilds could match those numbers, Dick Lebeau’s Blitzburgh defense could return.
I’m guessing that the coaching staff agrees with me, considering they hired Joey Porter to be Jones’ personal mentor, and hopefully light a fire under him.
I’m encouraged. I think it could be a rocky season for the defense. However, in years past they just couldn’t keep up physically.
If nothing else the defense will fly around and play fast… The experience and technique will come in time.