So far so good for Jones

The Steelers participate in Day 10 of the 2016 Organized Team Activities at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

For what it's worth, outside linebackers coach Joey Porter has seen what he wanted to see from outside linebacker Ryan Shazier during OTAs.

"I see nothing but him being ready to have a good year," Porter assessed.

The asterisk attached to that characterization is Porter won't be able to see what he needs to see from Jones until the Steelers get to training camp and put the pads on in Latrobe.

"He knows what's expected of him," Porter continued regarding Jones, a former first-round pick (17th overall) in 2013 who is preparing for his fourth season with the Steelers. "He has more expectations for himself. So as far as what I need to see, it's him being in shape and being ready to go to Latrobe and have a good camp, start the season off like we need him to.

"He understands mentally, he knows what he's doing. But we haven't played any football yet, no real contact. So when you ask if I see anything different, no, there's nothing that can be shown at this point."

The Steelers were generally pleased with Jones in 2015, when he started all 15 regular-season games in which he appeared and both of the Steelers' playoff games while sharing time with William Gay at right outside linebacker.

Jones' highlights included his first career interception (on Dec. 6 against Indianapolis) and his first two fumble recoveries (on Nov. 8 against Oakland and on Nov. 15 against Cleveland).

Jones also registered a sack and strip of quarterback AJ McCarron (defensive lineman Cam Thomas recovered) during the Steelers' 18-16 playoff victory on Jan. 9 in Cincinnati.

Entering the final season of his rookie contract, the coaching staff would like to see fewer mental mistakes from Jones (he's not alone on the defense in that regard) and more splash plays/sacks from Jones (among others).
The preparedness he's displayed toward achieving the former has been encouraging in OTAs.

But the latter won't be addressed in earnest until the Steelers get to St. Vincent College.

"Right now it's just a mental game," Porter said. "We are trying to see who knows the game mentally. You can't show me anything different until we get to Latrobe. Right now you can show me how much you have grown from the mental part and how much you understand about the defense. He's grown a lot from that standpoint.

"Until we start seeing people get taken to the ground or getting beat one-on-one, actually do stuff that makes our job what it is, I just judge them all on how well they pick up the defense and how far they've come mentally."

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