Jones missed the Baltimore game due to a concussion and had a limited practice week, so he didn't start against the Raiders, either. However, missed assignments, according to head coach Mike Tomlin, were the reason Jones played sparingly in the second half and was listed behind veteran Jason Worilds on the depth chart again this week.
The Steelers (2-5) visit the New England Patriots (6-2) Sunday at 4:25 p.m. at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
"It's definitely a learning curve, (but) I think everybody knew that even before I got here," Jones said Wednesday before practice. "It's been said that Coach LeBeau's defense is a challenge, and everybody knows that. So, I've just got to keep chopping wood, stay in the film room and stay in my playbook. And just keep learning, (but) it's not going to happen overnight.
"So, I just have to stay positive about it and keep learning. It's been a challenge since Day 1, and it's going to be a challenge all year. The main thing is that you've got to take the positive out of it and just stay positive. You have to keep your confidence and keep working. You're always one play away from playing, so that's now I look at it. I respect this game, and I love it. So, I'm just going to keep working to get better to be ready for my next opportunity."
While Jones' play certainly hasn't earned him more snaps, one might ascertain that he would be better served by learning on the field. Jones had another thought on that topic.
"You've got to take different views about things," Jones said. "I think we do a great job of preparation and film study. And there are a lot of guys, with my coaches and teammates, who are willing to answer any questions that I might have. So, I've got to raise those questions.
"They just want me to be more technical and technique-sound, and I understand that. Anything that I've got to do, I want to embrace that. So, it's a positive note for myself, and it's a challenge. So, I've just got to keep on working and approach this every day as a positive."
No matter how positive Jones, his teammates and his coaches remain, the former Georgia playmaker just hasn't clicked in the NFL. He has just three quarterback pressures and no sacks with 15 total tackles, including 13 solo stops, in six games.
"It's hard, but I think it'll come," Jones said. "And I think, after the first one, they'll start rolling in. So, I've just got to keep chopping wood. Nothing in the NFL is given to you. So, you've got to keep working and have confidence. We've still got a lot of ball games to play, and there's still a lot of plays to be made. So, I've got to stay focused and take advantage of my opportunities.
"I haven't been playing football for a long time, so this hasn't happened before to me. But I'm not looking at it like I'm second on the depth chart or that I'm playing behind somebody. They're making moves that are the best for our team, so I'm sure that I'll still get my handful of plays. And I'll still get my opportunities, but I just have to take advantage of them when I do get them."
If Jones can turn things around, he should leap-frog Worilds on the depth chart, because it's not like Worilds has been a huge impact player during his three-plus NFL seasons. In fact, Worilds has been underwhelming, for the most part, since the Steelers chose him in the second round in 2010.
With a first- and second-round draft pick trying to replace undrafted and unwanted for several years, James Harrison, one would think the No. 1 pick -- Jones -- would have more of an upside since he hasn't even played half a season. If Jones is impatient, he hasn't shown it. "I think our coaches do a great job of putting us in good situations and making the best decisions for the team," Jones said. "So, that's what they did, but I don't feel any different. I've just got to continue to work.
"It's something that I know I've got to do and just continue to better my skills and continue to do what my coaches and teammates ask of me."
More from Behind the Steel Curtain:
- Steelers Film Room: Plenty of blame passed around
- Five Burning Questions
- Meet Mat McBriar, the newest Steelers player
- BTSC's Player of the Month: Ben Roethlisberger
- Tomlin to Jones: Work on details, rookie
- 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