Would the Pittsburgh Steelers really bench rookie left tackle Broderick Jones despite his impressive play? With the return of Dan Moore, Jr. potentially around the corner, Jones apparently has more work to do to convince Mike Tomlin he's capable of starting full-time.
Moore worked with the first-team offense on Saturday, which could be a sign of things to come. Jones made just one start in Moore's absence against the Baltimore Ravens, but was graded as one of the top tackles in the AFC that week.
“He’s on an island with Jadeveon Clowney, no problems. They gave him absolutely no help. He was out there on his own… He stops Jadeveon Clowney in two steps. It’s beautiful. You can’t get any better on the island," Pro Football Focus noted.
Jones played well despite receiving little extra help. It's only one game, but if he plays like that on a regular basis, perhaps Jones can be the franchise left tackle the Steelers believe he can be. Still, that time might not be now, as Tomlin and the coaching staff have taken the slow play approach with many of Pittsburgh's rookie this season.
Will the Steelers let Dan Moore Jr. start over Broderick Jones again?
Moore Jr. would not declare himself starter, or Jones backup for that matter, just yet.
“I wouldn’t say that (Jones is relegated to backup),” Moore said. “An injury like that, it’s unexpected. You don’t really know what’s going to happen. I’m just showing up and going to work.”
Offensive line coach Pat Meyer is admittedly taking it slow with Jones, trying not to overwhelm him in his first season of work.
“He’s a really young football player. So, he’s going to get better, has to get better,” Meyer said. “I don’t just give him a ton of stuff each week, it’s more two or three things to work each week. So, yes, that hand usage is something he can work on. You know, punch timing, not bending over and getting overextended through his punch, placement. Those are all things he is working on.”
The Steelers feel he still has a lot to learn. Rather than throwing him to the wolves full-time, Pittsburgh will teach him in small doses of action.