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Morning links: Jones continues to ascend

9/12/2013

Here are your morning Steelers links:

The future looks like it is now for rookie outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. The Steelers’ first-round pick said after the team’s first practice of the week that he expects to start Monday night in Cincinnati. Jones made a crushing tackle on one of his first snaps in the Steelers’ season opener, and those kind of plays made it inevitable that he would supplant Jason Worilds at outside linebacker sooner rather than later. The two are still listed atop the depth chart at right outside linebacker, and Worilds is still part of a rotation that the Steelers will continue to use at outside linebacker. But it is fitting that Jones will start against James Harrison's new team as the Steelers drafted the former as Harrison's long-term replacement.

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Dejan Kovacevic takes an unflinching look at the state of the Steelers’ offensive line -- and how the maligned unit has to get better in a hurry. It doesn’t get any easier for the line as it will try to neutralize one of the NFL’s better defensive fronts in a noisy stadium. Kelvin Beachum is expected to make his first career start at center, and he will be tested early and often. So will tackles Mike Adams and Marcus Gilbert.

Past may not be prologue: The Bengals would normally be a welcome opponent for a Steelers team that is in desperate need of a win. But history isn’t going to block, tackle, catch and run the ball for the Steelers Monday night at Paul Brown Stadium.

Moving on: Looking for any bold predictions of payback or over-the-top quotes from Harrison? You won’t find them in this story. But the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review caught up with the former Steelers outside linebacker, and he talked about adjusting to a new team and defense, and how he is simply happy to still be playing football.

Man in the middle: There’s a reason Steelers fans don’t know much about new starting inside linebacker Kion Wilson. He was out of football last season and worked as an insurance adjuster and salesman before signing with the Steelers as a street free agent.