As part of Subway Restaurants' Famous Fan program, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones met with war veterans in conjunction with the Wounded Warrior Project. We were able to speak with Jones about the visit, about the complexities of the Dick LeBeau defense and about the Steelers' struggles this year.
Here's what Jones had to say.
Bleacher Report: As a Subway Famous Fan, you visited wounded veterans in the hospital recently. Can you tell me about how that went?
Jarvis Jones: It was a group of 50, 60 wounded veterans and we just got to know each other a little bit, they got to know me. I told them about myself and opened it up for questions. They were really excited to meet me. Some of the biggest Pittsburgh Steelers fans, they showed up with their jerseys and their Terrible Towels and stuff, and we really had a lot of fun.
B/R: Head coach Mike Tomlin said that you needed to do more "detail work" before you're ready to be a full-time starter. The Steelers don't generally give rookies a starting job, especially on defense, because Dick LeBeau's scheme is so complex. How complicated is LeBeau's defense to master?
JJ: I think it's just very challenging. Week in and week out, we'd be doing different plays, we're installing different things according to who we're playing. And just the technique of some of the stuff that we do is a bit challenging. If you look at it over the history, it's taken people two or three years to get on the field. But I think I'm doing an okay job of learning and trying to be productive, but I've still got a ways to learn.
B/R: Have any Steelers veterans really taken you under their wing this season, and what have they taught you about playing for the Steelers?
JJ: I think our whole team does a good job of communicating with the rookies. We've got quite a few rookies this year that have been playing, so I think all the guys have done a great job of taking us in, teaching us how to study, how to watch film, how to take care of our bodies. We've got Ryan Clark, Ike Taylor, LaMarr Woodley, Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel—just all those guys.
B/R: So things aren't going as planned for your team this year, with only two wins right now. What are the steps, at least on defense, that you think the team needs to take to turn things around?
JJ: We just got to continue to stay positive, stay confident and just keep chopping wood, continue to work hard and continue to believe in ourselves. It's been tough, but I think if we just get back to doing what the Steelers do best playing defense—not allow people to run the ball, not allow people to throw the ball deep on us, we'll be fine.
I think, just make a team one-dimensional. If they run the ball [well], we need to stop them from running the ball and make them do something they don't like doing.
You can find inspiring stories from Wounded Warriors who have overcome major hurdles since returning from war at Subway's Facebook page.