Steelers notebook: Porter takes Jones under his wing
Joey Porter's official title is defensive assistant, but it might as well be Jarvis Jones' personal coach.
Porter, the Steelers' third-round pick in 1999, registered 98 sacks over his 14-year NFL career (eight years of which were with the Steelers) and now is trying to transfer his knowledge of pass-rushing to last year's first-round pick.
“I don't have to say you're going to have to do this,” said Porter, who was a graduate assistant at Colorado State last year. “He wants it for himself. He's a good student (and) he wants to learn the game. Like I tell him all the time, you put in the work, and I'm going to be here to help you with whatever you need. I played the position. Soak up all the knowledge I have like a sponge, and I'll just keep giving it to you.”
Despite playing in 14 games and starting eight as a rookie, Jones finished with only one sack.
“Last year I could imagine how he struggled with the defense,” Porter said. “This is a complex defense (and) to learn it that fast and be thrown in the fire (is tough). I remember being at Jarvis' age, but he's got a little more pressure (on him) than I did. He's a first-round pick. I didn't have that much pressure on me as a third-round pick. I didn't get thrown into the starting lineup like he did.”
Playing catch up
Rookie sixth-round draft pick Jordan Zumwalt wasn't allowed to attend the Steelers three weeks of organized team activities because his class at UCLA had not graduated and now believes he's playing catch-up.
“Yeah, I am a little bit behind, man,” Zumwalt said following Tuesday's afternoon walkthrough at minicamp. “I am playing a little catch-up mentally.”
Zumwalt said he was able to study his playbook and have daily conversations with the coaching staff during his absence, but that he is not where he should be.
“Still, I am behind in the book,” Zumwalt said. “You learn a lot better when you are repping things out. I was just learning out of the book. When you learn out of the book, it is a little different because you aren't seeing the looks that everybody else is seeing.”
Zumwalt, who played inside linebacker at UCLA, will continue to stay outside through minicamp.
“They told me once I have a grasp on it that they are going to move me around a lot,” Zumwalt said.
It's been 10 months since center Maurkice Pouncey had reconstructive knee surgery, and he's been deemed 100 percent healthy.
However, that doesn't mean that the Steelers won't hold him out of a practice or two during training camp.
“For him, he has to make sure that he isn't too anxious,” offensive line coach Mike Munchak said. “We don't play until September. He isn't limited at all. He pretty much can do everything. He looks great, but we are going to have to be smart on how much we give him.”
Odds and ends
Linebacker Jason Worilds returned to practice on a limited basis for the first time since injuring his leg during the first offseason practice May 27. “It was good,” Worilds said. Worilds isn't expected to fully participate until the start of training camp … Penn State coach James Franklin and some assistants were at practice. … The Steelers resume minicamp Wednesday before finishing up Thursday.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib
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