PITTSBURGH -- Jarvis Jones, the Pittsburgh Steelers No. 1 pick this season, insists that he's not James Harrison.
Jones has said that he and Harrison are two different players and two different types of linebackers, even though he plays the same right outside linebacker spot that Harrison held for the Steelers as a full-time starter from 2007-12.
The two clearly are different players. It took Harrison five years to make it in the NFL, while it took Jones all of one game. Jones had a big hit on Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson -- a two-yard loss in the backfield on the second play of his initial series -- and he also had a key special teams stop.
"Chris is cool," Jones said. "Me and him train together in the offseason, so I know him. We didn't talk much during the game, but we talked about it after. He basically told me it was a good play, but that's what I'm supposed to do."
The Steelers clearly believe Jones has progressed quickly this season, because they listed him as a co-starter with Jason Worilds on the Week 2 depth chart. Worilds played about twice as many snaps as Jones in Game 1. And he has taken all the first-team reps this week, so look for him to open the game Monday night at Cincinnati.
"That's the way it is right now," Jones said after practice Wednesday. "As long as I continue to keep doing what I'm doing, I hope it stays like that. (Starting) is my dream. It's something I definitely wanted to do, that's to start and be in that rotation and fight with my guys.
"I just want to continue to strive to be the best and keep getting better. I just want to improve every day and help this team win football games, whether it's as a starter, co-starter or coming off the bench. All I want to do it play football and help my teammates win games."
If Jones starts the Bengals game, he'll be the first rookie on defense to start early in a season since Kendrell Bell in 2001. Nose tackle Casey Hampton started in his sixth NFL game. Cornerback Chad Scott started Game 1 in 1997.
Harrison spoke to the Steelers media Thursday morning and wouldn't offer an assessment of Jones and his play so far, noting that he had not seen him. Jones had a lot to say about Harrison, however.
"He's vicious," Jones said. "Strong, way stronger than I'll ever be. And he's physical. I'm not saying that I'm not physical, but we've just got two different styles of play. I think I use my hands a lot more than him. He's more just legs and upper-body strength. He likes to overpower people, but I'm just more ... not finesse, but I like to do my steps and use my hands and more technique.
"Harrison's just a beast. I can't say what he does, because he's just a beast. When I watch him, it seems like he's just (going) on instincts. I've got to set it up and do my moves, but it's all instinct for him. I can be vicious, too, but it probably looks better for him because he's all muscles and muscles on muscles.
"But, for me, I work hard and take pride in what I do and what we've got going on with this defense," Jones added. "So, I'm going to continue to work hard to get better every day. If I start, so be it. If not, I'll still go out there and do what I can to help my teammates. We work well together, so I just want to fit in."
And if Jones continues to improve, he could have a big head start on being what it took Harrison half his career to accomplish.
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