Steelers notebook: LB Jones fine after trip to hospital
Jarvis Jones clearly has a nose for the football. What he apparently doesn't have yet is a chest for it.
Jones, the Steelers' first-round draft pick, required an overnight hospital stay Saturday after multiple players piled on top of him while he gathered up a loose ball — something he's done with regularity in his first NFL preseason.
“The ball's finding him, but he's finding his way to the ball,” LaMarr Woodley said.
Jones called his skill for creating turnovers “lucky” and said, “I just run to the ball and try to make plays.”
Jones said he's fine — “It's just a bruise” — but he didn't practice Monday.
• Emmanuel Sanders is moving into the wide receiver position (flanker) once played by Hines Ward. He's not the blocker Ward was, but he said being multi-faceted is a requirement in the Steelers' offense. “(Assistant coach) Richard Mann always says that if you don't block, you don't get the rock,” said Sanders, who mostly played slot receiver until now. “I feel like that's the philosophy around Pittsburgh. ... Yeah, we have to catch the ball but, yeah, we also have to block.”
• The punting competition will last through Thursday's final preseason game, though incumbent Drew Butler (47.3 average) appears to have the edge over Brian Moorman (40.5). “This competition's made me better,” Butler said. “I'm trying to make that jump in Year 2 because I know coach (Mike) Tomlin has specific standards for second-year players. I feel like I'm going to bring that development to him and the team.”
• The Steelers won't have the entire weekend off as they often do following the final preseason game. They are scheduled to practice Sunday after taking Friday and Saturday off. They also will practice Monday — as they always do during the opening week of the regular season — ahead of their usual Tuesday off. The 53-man roster must be set by 6 p.m. Saturday.
• Rookie quarterback Landry Jones is completing just 45.2 percent of his passes during the preseason, and he didn't get into the game Saturday. Regardless, wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders sees week-to-week improvement by the fourth-round pick. “When he came in (last spring) he had his rookie miscues, but he's starting to understand the offense and what it takes to be a pro,” Sanders said.
• The Steelers gave running back Felix Jones a few base plays Saturday so he could carry the ball eight times the day after they acquired him from Philadelphia. This week, Jones admittedly needs to do some homework in a hurry. “I'm going to study the playbook and try to show the coaches more during practice,” Jones said. “Once I know the playbook, I can play fast.”
• This is the 11th straight year the Steelers end the preseason by playing Carolina. The Steelers must win Thursday at Charlotte to avoid their first winless preseason since 2006.