The 2023 NFL regular season schedule has been released for roughly a week now, and all 32 NFL teams are looking at their slate of games and starting the early stages of preparation for the upcoming season. For rookies who were drafted in the 2023 NFL Draft, they are starting to look ahead to their first games as a professional for their respective teams.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers, they look at their first three games of the season and see the following slate:
Week 1: vs. San Francisco 49ers
Week 2: vs. Cleveland Browns
Week 3: at Las Vegas Raiders
As it pertains to the team’s rookies, the Steelers’ top draft pick absolutely knows what those three games mean. No, it’s not his first three games of his NFL career, but it’s who he could potentially face when he rolls into the regular season.
“Yeah…Nick Bosa and the 49ers,” said Jones at the team’s rookie minicamp last weekend.
While Jones didn’t hesitate when talking about who could be lining up across from him in Week 1, he also acknowledged what his primary goal was after being drafted by the Steelers.
Just go to work.
“Something to prepare for, something to look forward to.” Jones added. “Put my best foot forward every day working towards that day. Just trying to get to that point and be the best version of me.”
Even as the media in attendance for the rookie minicamp prodded the Steelers’ top draft pick, his answers spoke solely of a player just focused on getting acclimated and preparing for his first professional season.
“I have the mindset of coming in ready to work,” said Jones. “I am not looking forward to winning the job right now. My biggest focus is coming in and doing the best I can do. Learning the playbook and being the best version of me.
“Just being physical, technique, just getting it done.”
After the first day of workouts, which was primarily just a walk-through and focus on fundamentals, Jones said he was excited to get to know his new teammates and get back on the field for the first time since his days at Georgia.
“It felt great being out here with the guys, grinding, getting it in,” said Jones. “I am ready to get it going, see what everybody’s got, see what I can do. Make it work.
“Just being around the guys, getting to know them, getting to know everybody’s name. Just trying to bond with them. Just trying to get to know everybody, who they are, what they like, how they like to play.”
Was Jones working at both tackle spots, or was he just practicing at left tackle? Jones said while the line was just doing more overall offensive line stuff, he did say his focus was just left tackle.
“It was O-line stuff,” said Jones. “The whole line, you never know what can happen. (Working at) left tackle as of now.”
When you’re talking about the three pass rushers Jones could face if he starts the season at left tackle for the Steelers, it can be daunting.
Week 1: Nick Bosa
Week 2: Myles Garrett
Week 3: Maxx Crosby
If we are to take how Jones answered question over the weekend, he seems to be focused solely on himself right now, and not who he might be lining up across when the regular season rolls around.
Not a bad approach for the young left tackle.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of the 2023 NFL offseason.