Kovacevic: Get Jarvis back on the field
I know Jones was terrible Sunday in Oakland. I know he couldn't keep outside contain on Terrelle Pryor, couldn't keep up with pass coverage, couldn't mount any real pressure much less collect his first NFL sack. If he were being graded, he'd get maybe a D-minus.
And so what?
For this team, at 2-5 and heading nowhere, at a pivoting point like no other in a decade or more, this kid needs to play. He needs to learn. He needs to get better. He needs a meaningful stretch in which to get comfortable after being hampered by a preseason chest injury and, more recently, the concussion.
Worilds is a fourth-year guy, he's blown his shot at replacing James Harrison, and he won't even be around next season. He's an unrestricted free agent, and there's no chance the cap-constrained Steelers will keep a third outside linebacker at open-market rates.
So what's the point?
Sorry, but the concept of actual contention burned up Sunday in Pryor's vapor trails.
The shifting of priorities should be happening now. The Steelers could be — should be — working simultaneously to win Sunday's game and to get the best out of this entire draft class that had everyone glowing not so long ago.
Second-rounder Le'Veon Bell is the No. 1 running back, which is wonderful.
But third-round wide receiver Markus Wheaton was barely getting onto the field before breaking a finger.
And what of fourth-round safety Shamarko Thomas?
He is seeing a decent amount of time in Dick LeBeau's dime and “quarter” formations that go heavy on defensive backs and allow Troy Polamalu to hover near the line. In effect, Thomas has covered Polamalu's old spot.
But why not more?
Ryan Clark, the other veteran safety, is 34, is having a miserable season and, like Worilds, will become an unrestricted free agent. There's nothing left for him to see, maybe nothing he can do to salvage the Steelers' season. In contrast, imagine the jump-start Thomas would get on his career by facing the likes of Brady, Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers.
Yeah, I know. It's all about Sunday's game, right?
Must explain why LaMarr Woodley, author of zero tackles and zero assists in Oakland, will line up as the other outside linebacker in Foxborough.
Let the kid watch and learn.
Amen - finally, a writer with a clue and not just regurgitating the company line
let the young guys play,