Jacoby Jones had trouble holding onto the ball Sunday night against the Colts. Now he'll be fortunate to hold onto a roster spot after being demoted from return duties.
When the Steelers released their newest depth chart Tuesday, Jones was dropped to second behind Markus Wheaton as a kick returner, and was listed behind both Antonio Brown and Wheaton on the punt return unit. Head coach Mike Tomlin had a simple explanation for the changes.
"The ball security, or lack thereof, being the significant reason," Tomlin said of Jones' two fumbles before he was benched at halftime against Indianapolis.
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While the usage of both Brown and Wheaton in returning roles heightens the risk of injury, Tomlin said he believes the risk is worth the reward and offered a one-word answer when asked if he was concerned about his top receivers getting hurt.
"No," Tomlin said via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn't as sure, even after seeing Brown return a punt 71 yards for a touchdown against the Colts in relief of Jones.
"Well, putting him back there for fun, he may take it to the house, but it is also an extra play on the field where there are 11 guys running down the field while he is looking up in the air to try to kill him," Roethlisberger said Tuesday on his weekly radio segment on 93.7 FM. "To me, that's where I get more worried about putting my top two receivers back in punt return and kick return. As long as they don't get hurt, I am OK with it. My concern is losing one of my top two receivers."