Sit down, rookie, and learn how to be a pro.
Those weren't the exact words Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said to rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, informing him he will not start in Week 9 against the New England Patriots. But that's the message he is intending to send.
"He’s just not doing enough detail work right now," Tomlin said of Jones at his press conference Tuesday, "and really Jason Worilds is and that’s just the reality of it. Part of playing really good defense is having detail with your work and there’s more detail in Worilds’ work right now. Jarvis needs to continue to work. I think he’s open to that and we’re open to giving him an opportunity to do so."
Jones isn't doing a lot of things right now, and if Tomlin chooses to point out "detail work," instead of "getting pressure on the quarterback," that's fine. They may be a cause-and-effect issue stemming from the general lack of production Jones has had through the underwhelming first half of his pro career.
Jones hasn't sacked the quarterback yet this season, and after registering 15 tackles in his first three games, including two for loss against the Tennessee Titans in Week 1, he's had four tackles in his last three games, leading into his reduction in playing time.
The assertion was Jones was the most pro-ready defensive player heading into the 2013 NFL Draft, but several draft classmates have blown past him in terms of immediate production.
That in itself isn't quite fair; failing to live up to hype in one's rookie season is hardly a jailable offense. A real translatable characteristic of a college player turning pro is work ethic, and by all accounts, Jones works hard. Maybe he got onto the field a bit early; Steelers OLB LaMarr Woodley didn't play much at all his rookie year, and started - and dominated - in his sophomore campaign.
Rookie safety Shamarko Thomas also saw a dropoff in his snaps in Week 8 - 81 snaps in Weeks 6 and 7, and 11 in Week 8. This shows the fact two rookies were seeing this much playing time was the exception, not the rule.
They can both wave a towel on the sideline for a bit, cheering for their teammates. It won't kill them.
Jones can still get on the field, provided he does the "detail work" Tomlin mentioned.
Producing a few plays would help as well.
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Suisham can't kick six-point field goals
- Steelers release Zoltan Mesko, sign Mat McBriar
- Steelers vs. Patriots: One game at a time mentality is shifting
- David DeCastro Injury: Steelers right guard could be limited early in the week but no significant injury
- Steelers depth chart: Jason Worilds now starting over Jarvis Jones