When Mark Kaboly of DK on Pittsburgh Sports first reported that James Harrison would be replacing Jarvis Jones as the starting right outside linebacker, most just accepted it and moved on. I’m told there’s a little bit more to it than that and it involves outside linebackers’ coach Joey Porter.
If you’ll recall, Jones was in on the key play when Dallas’ Ezekiel Elliott ran for the game-winning touchdown this past Sunday. His inability to get off the block and make the play at the line of scrimmage was a big part of why that play ended the way it did. My understanding is that personnel decision was the last straw for Porter in terms of making substitutions in in-game situations.
Mike Tomlin’s coaching staff from last year was untouched following the season but I believe this is a clear indication that Joey Porter may be looking for work. The outside linebackers have struggled to get any pressure on the quarterback all season. They’ve also been inconsistent in stopping the run game and holding the edge on plays to the outside.
One of the things that average fans need to understand is that sometimes great players don’t always make great coaches. There’s absolutely no denying the passion and fire that Joey Porter had as a player and still has as a coach but his ability to teach seems to be ineffective. Granted, the talent isn’t what it was thought to be but Porter has had a couple of years now to whip this unit into shape and the results just aren’t there.
I take little pleasure in writing of Porter’s potential demise because I always loved him as a player. This team could use an attitude and intensity that he brought right now. Unfortunately, it looks like Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler will be making the substitution calls for the outside backers for the foreseeable future.
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