Maybe Bill Parcells was correct and you cannot simply dial 1-800-quarterback when you need one, but one would almost swear the Pittsburgh Steelers found a hotline for franchise linebackers.
After releasing James Harrison, many felt the team would address the outside linebacker position in the NFL draft. The Steelers did by grabbing Jarvis Jones with the 17th pick. Experts and analysts agreed pre-draft Jones would be a great fit in Pittsburgh, and now as a member of the team, he is proving just how right they were. Jones and the Steelers seem like match made in Heaven.
Granted, some people feel he could add a few pounds, others continue to worry about his spinal stenosis diagnosis and a few still fret over his less-than-desirable 40-time; but his coaches have filed no such complaints.
Jones, himself, has had no complaints since the Steelers announced him as the first-round selection in 2013, even though the team has been very clear about his needing to earn a starting spot in practice, not at the draft podium. Jones has been humble throughout, prepared for the challenge and excited about his future in Pittsburgh.
"I can't wait to get in the locker room with those guys and just learn from those guys. It's definitely a blessing to be on the field with those guys."
"They're about winning. They're about playing hard-nosed defense and they're about playing down after down. I see it and I know what it means."
Jones realizes he has a lot to learn to play in the Steelers defense, masterminded by defensive coordinator - who Jones has come to describe simply as "chill". Jones, who is considered to be a mellow personality in his own right, should have no problem bonding with LeBeau, who's players still refer to him as Coach Dad.
While his calm demeanor will serve him well in the classroom, he has some ferocious cleats to fill if he wants to be the guy who replaced James Harrison.
"I don't compare myself in no way to James Harrison. He's a great player. Respect him. Never met him. But I love his game. I wouldn't mind being an impact player like James Harrison."
The Steelers wouldn't mind it, either; but they are trying to keep things in perspective. Jason Worilds is still the starter until further notice, allowing Jones the time to learn and develop.
He may struggle initially adapting on the field; however, from a character standpoint, Jones is passing every test along the way to training camp.