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Jarvis Jones Joins Overcrowded Steelers Bench

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On the heels of the Pittsburgh Steelers latest disastrous loss, the big story to emerge from the wreckage is the demotion of first round pick Jarvis Jones. It all started during the game where those unfortunate enough to have had to sit through Sunday’s fiasco saw linebackers coach Keith Butler chewing his rookie out on the sideline. Jones did not start on Sunday and at his weekly press conference, Mike Tomlin admitted that Jones has been benched in favor of Jason Worilds. His reasoning being that Jones needs to work on “the details.”

Which is Tomlinspeak for “He don’t know the playbook.”

Yesterday, Butler reinforced the head coach’s point by telling reporters, “Right now we are going to do what we can to win ballgames, and whatever that takes is what we are going to do.” Ouch. So basically Butler is saying that Butler not understanding the defense and getting out of position is costing the team. Which is strange because Terrelle Pryor‘s 93 yard touchdown actually went to LaMarr Woodley‘s side of the field with Woodley and Lawrence Timmons being the two guys who bit the hardest on the fake hand-off.

Young players are gonna make mistakes. Doubly so when you’re playing on a defense as legendarily complicated as Dick LeBeau‘s. Jones starting at all was something of a miracle since neither Woodley nor Troy Polmalu started until their second seasons. If it wasn’t for the defense’s huge struggle to generate splash plays – sacks and turnovers – it’s very likely the Steelers would’ve been content to roll with the mediocre Worilds while slowly easing Jones into the line-up.

Jones’s demotion leaves the Steelers with a bench overflowing with high round draft picks. 2009 first rounder Ziggy Hood lost his job to Cam Heyward and has seen his playing time steadily decrease to the point he only played seven snaps against Oakland. A pair of second round picks, tackles Marcus Gilbert and Mike Adams, were both benched for repeated suckitude although Gilbert got his spot back when Levi Brown tore his bicep bending over to tie his shoes. CB Cortez Allen was only a fourth round pick but the Steelers let last year’s starter Keenan Lewis depart via free agency because they expected big things from him. Allen had a horrific first game back from pre-season surgery and has since been displaced by the always iffy William Gay.

Nobody has been tougher on Mike Tomlin this season than I have. So in the credit where it’s due department, he deserves kudos for not hesitating to bench guys who are doing a shitty job. In previous years, the Steelers would continue playing draft picks well after it became apparent to everybody they weren’t any good. I guess 2-5 requires you have something of a shorter leash.

Still can’t believe Isaac freakin’ Redman got three starts, though.

If the season continues on its current path, this off-season will be filled with a lot of questions for the Steelers. As it stands now, one of them will have to be why so many of these premium picks are currently residing on the bench. Jones is gonna be fine but in a league where the difference between Super Bowl contender and mediocrity is hitting on some 3rd-5th round picks, the fact so many premium draft choices are failing to pan out has to be of deep concern.