Steelers rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones was competing for a starting position the minute he was drafted with the 17th overall pick by the Steelers.
He'll have claimed that distinction formally at or around 8:40 p.m. ET Monday, when he will get the nod over veteran Jason Worilds against Cincinnati.
Jones, not surprisingly, is prepared for the challenge.
"I am ready for it," Jones told Tribune-Review reporter Mark Kaboly. "It's all mental. You have to go with the flow. These guys plays 60 snaps out there, so they have to trust me to do it."
Ultimately, it's a team defense. With the Steelers' defensive ends rotating more, and the emergence of Steve McLendon - who will play after missing some time this week with a hamstring issue - as an interior force, trust and understanding of assignments is even more important.
Jones and OLB LaMarr Woodley need to be more disciplined in their pass rush, making sure to not rush in the same space as the defensive ends are. Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood and Cameron Heyward all looked impressive in the Week 1 loss to the Titans, and the Steelers could be building a front seven that can all register a certain amount of sacks along with lots of pressure.
Jones will be a part of that, no doubt, but like he said, his teammates need to be able to trust him, and he needs to be able to trust them.
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