And now they’re bringing in someone to light a fire under them.
The Steelers brought former pass-rushing star Joey Porter back as a defensive assistant this year, hoping he can bring some edge to a defense that hasn’t shown the same kind of teeth as in the past.
“I’m going to coach the way I played: with my emotions. I love to get after it,” Porter told Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “They know me, so I don’t have to change.”
The Steelers are old enough (and the 37-year-old Porter is young enough) that he has some former teammates hanging around, and safety Troy Polamalu likes to joke with the man he calls “Coach Peezy.”
But the priority is getting something out of Jones, who had a single sack as a rookie last year, far from what they were expecting.
“[Jones] is anxious to respond,” Porter said. “He wasn’t happy how it turned out, but he feels like he did the best he can. Now it’s try to help him do even more.
“Last year, I can imagine how he struggled with the defense. It’s a complex defense to learn it that fast and be thrown in the fire. But the good thing about it is he wants it for himself.”
While Porter might be remembered as much for his mouth as his actions, the Steelers haven’t gotten his kind of production in a few years, so having him working on Jones might be the right combination.