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Taylor: 'Sky's the limit' for Jarvis Jones

10/2/2013

PITTSBURGH -- Jarvis Jones is fifth on the Steelers in tackles (16), but he has not provided the defense with the impact pass rusher it needs opposite LaMarr Woodley.

At least not yet.

Jones' next sack will be his first one in the NFL, and the former Georgia star has been credited with just one quarterback pressure despite making three starts at outside linebacker.

Jones is coming off the most trying game of his young career as the one play in which he was conspicuous on was a rather dubious one in the Steelers' 34-27 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.

Jones failed to recover a fumble following a Woodley strip sack even though he had the best shot at the loose ball. Not only did the Steelers not register their first takeaway of the season, the Vikings got a first down out of it.

Welcome to the NFL, rookie.

At the quarter point of Jones' first NFL season it is fair to say he has made more of an impact on special teams. It is also fair to say that the 6-2, 245-pounder's growth will be critical to the Steelers putting more pressure on opposing quarterbacks in their final 12 games simply because the potential is there for so much of it.

"He has to find himself, meaning he's got to trust his ability, he's got to trust why he's a first-round [pick] over there," veteran cornerback Ike Taylor said of Jones. "He's got to understand the defense. He's got to know where everybody's at on the defense. Once he starts doing that, he's going to be a hell of a player."

The good news for the Steelers is Jones has shown a knack for developing quickly. It took him just one game to supplant Jason Worilds at right outside linebacker, and Taylor can't remember a rookie playing such a prominent role so early in Dick LeBeau's defense.

"Obviously they see something in [Jones] for him to be out there so early," said Taylor, who arrived in Pittsburgh a year before LeBeau returned for a second stint as the Steelers' defensive coordinator.

Taylor said the 17th overall pick of the 2013 draft will play faster as he gets more comfortable in the defense and starts thinking less.

Asked to elaborate on what he meant about Jones needing to trust himself more, Taylor said, "Just play football. You kind of second-guess yourself when you're out there on the field -- where do I need to be, down and distance, am I checking the tight end -- instead of just playing. Once he believes in himself like we believe in him, the sky's the limit for him."