PITTSBURGH — What happens when you throw the first-round tackle in at his unnatural position on the other side of the offensive line on a short week’s notice? The guy plays like a stud and cements his place in the starting lineup with back-to-back fantastic performances. Welcome to the world where the Steelers see Broderick Jones do precisely what he should not do as a rookie.
In their 23-19 victory over the Green Bay Packers, the Steelers broke the game open and found success to the tune of 205 rushing yards. Much involved No. 77 in Black clearing lanes for Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren. Not all of it, but a lot of it. When Pittsburgh traded up for Jones, they went up and got a player liked with the tackle position coming off the board far too quickly. But still, it seemed throughout training camp and the preseason that Jones had a little to go. The flashes were, but he was not a consistent play down to down.
He’s not a consistent player with his technique, but it does not matter. Since he entered, Pittsburgh has rattled off 371 rushing yards in the last two games. Jones even declared this week that he wanted the group to get 200 yards because he’s not satisfied without utter domination at Georgia. Now, the team knows their identity.
“I’m happy we got to 200,” Jones said. “That was always the goal. Those running backs were running hard and we were clearing out lanes.”
Jones Keeps Playing Well
Broderick Jones is adding a spark to this offensive line that was hard to envision. You have to understand how impressive what Jones is doing right now regarding him being a rookie. He flipped from his natural side in a short week and is now playing like a massive net positive for the team. The crazy thing? Jones is far from polished. He’s very raw. But his physical gifts stick out and raise his floor considerably.
I feel like I’m getting more comfortable here,” Jones said. “We’re just out there, sticking to a plan.”
Everyone sees the energy that Jones brings to the table. But Mike Tomlin gave Jones some praise you do not hear often out of the head coach’s mouth. That’s atypical of what Tomlin does with rookies, but Jones has earned it. Not only will he likely start moving forward, he’s becoming an integral part of their plan by getting him out in space and pulling.
“You know, I think he’s been really good, and we’ve been really good” Tomlin said. “You can’t deny that.”
He doesn’t sustain blocks yet. His hand placement is all over the place, and his timing between his feet and hands is not there yet. But Jones is playing well despite that and learning while doing it. The Steelers have some extremely quality looks at Jones, and they should be excited for good reason.
It’s hard to do what Jones had done in a short time. But it proves he is a quick study, and the energy he brings to the table is like a lightning rod for the team. Jones loves plays that can get into space and accentuate his natural gifts. Pittsburgh has made him a focal point of their ground attack for that reason.
“Young with a ton of energy, man,” quarterback Kenny Pickett said. “He approaches the game the right way. He just brings a fire into the huddle with you love to see as a quarterback. I think he’s nasty in the run game. In protection, he does a great job. He’s only going to get better, too, which is great news with him, so he’s going to continue to progress.”
Jones wins a lot off his special gifts but, when coming out of Georgia, had arguably the highest ceiling in the tackle class. Pittsburgh is starting to see that seep through, and what Jones is doing at right tackle is tough. But it’s clear this train is moving and won’t stop.
Broderick Jones. Buy Stock Now.