Remaining confident: Linebacker Jarvis Jones slid down the depth chart this week, going from the starter at right outside linebacker to second behind Jason Worilds. Worilds opened the season as the starter, but Jones stepped in and started four games until a concussion held him back and Worilds started against Baltimore, and then again vs. Oakland despite Jones being back healthy.
Coach Mike Tomlin pointed to Jones "detailed work" as the reason for the change.
"There's more detail in Worilds' work right now than there is for Jarvis," said Tomlin.
Jones said on Wednesday that he has to continue to work on picking up defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau's defense, one that is notoriously difficult for rookies to get a full grasp on.
"It's a learning curve," said Jones. "I think everybody knows that. It's been said to play in Coach LeBeau's defense is a challenge. I have to keep chipping wood, stay in the film room and playbook and keep learning. Nothing happens overnight. I just have to stay positive about it and keep learning.
"It's been a challenge since day one. It's going to be a challenge all year. You have to keep your confidence and keep working. You are always one play away from playing. I respect this game, I love it. I am going to try to keep getting better and be ready for my opportunity."
Taking his turn: On the other side of the coin, while Jones is losing playing time, Worilds is gaining it. And for him, it's been a long time coming. Worilds is in his fourth season and has only started 13 games. He played behind James Harrison for three seasons and then as he was ready to step in with Harrison's release this offseason, the team drafted Jones number one this year.
"It's tough in a sense," said Worilds. "You come in and play behind a defensive player of the year player. When it's your time to play they draft a first-rounder. It's been tough, and the opportunities I have had I am making the most of them. I am just trying to take steps forward. Just getting on the field, get the reps and continue to make the best of it."
Worilds had been rotating with Jones for the first six games of the season, seeing his most extensive playing time against the Raiders last week. He said that was valuable for him, allowing him to get into the flow of the game better.
"It's always different when you can play consistently," said Worilds. "As a rusher, a player in general, out of 10 plays if you rush two times and drop back eight times, it's going to affect your rush. And that's just from a rushing standpoint. If you are only in three of those plays you never know what the outcome of the play could be. It's better to play consistently."