In 2nd camp with Steelers, WR Tevin Jones getting look
Though Tevin Jones began Pittsburgh Steelers training camp toward the bottom of the wide receivers depth chart and getting scant reps, in recent days the big and athletic receiver has been opening eyes.
At 26 and his fourth NFL training camp, Jones has been with the Steelers for 19 months. It shows.
“I’m a lot more comfortable, and everything’s pretty much slowing down a little bit,” Jones said Saturday from Saint Vincent. “I am glad just to be in the same offense a second year because I’d been on different teams (in 2016 and ’17 after going undrafted). Now I feel a little more comfortable at different positions.
“I’m trying to go out there and give it all I got.”
— Blitzburgh (@Steel_Curtain4) July 4, 2019
Jones has been showing plenty over the past few practices, be it on Chuck Noll Field, at Latrobe Memorial Stadium on Friday or Heinz Field on Sunday night.
With Donte Moncrief and Diontae Johnson missing time because of injury, Jones was getting first-team reps. He has been taking advantage of them by making catches, some of them “combat” catches, some of them for touchdowns, some of them against starting defensive backs.
Seemingly at one point during every 11-on-11 or 7-on-7 session over the past several days, Jones has a reception. He had one in the end zone early in the first individual drills of the Sunday night practice at Heinz Field.
“Every time they throw me the ball I try to take advantage of it and catch it and make every opportunity the best opportunity,” said Jones, who played at Memphis and spent his rookie camp with the Houston Texans and 2017’s camp with the Kansas City Chiefs.
“I’ve just got to work on my consistency and try to keep bringing my ‘A’ game, not go up-and-down here and there. Just try to keep everything on a positive note.”
That’s not easy when objectively looking at Jones’ shot at making the team, particularly the 53-man roster. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Moncrief, Johnson and James Washington are locks to make the cut, and at least one (if not both) of the slot receivers, Ryan Switzer and Eli Rogers, is in good shape, too.
That leaves Jones in a group that includes the likes of Trey Griffey — who, like Jones, spent last season on the practice squad — CFL star Diontae Spencer, veteran special-teams gunner Johnny Holton and newly signed Brandon Reilly battling for their roster lives at receiver.
“I know it’s going to be a grind, and I just take it one day at a time,” Jones said. “I try not to think about too much of what’s going on, because when I start thinking too much that’s when I start messing up. So I just go out there and clear everything out and have fun.”
In Jones’ favor is that he embraces special teams. He’s a regular on the core four kickoff and punt return and coverage teams. In reality, that’s his best path to the roster.
“I play receiver, but I see myself as a specialist,” Jones said. “So I try to put my special-teams abilities out there first and lay my hat on special teams and let my natural talent show at receiver.”
Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Chris by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .