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View Full Version : Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB


TrueSteelerForLife
06-11-2008, 12:32 AM
As Big Brown discovered, nothing is a sure thing in sports, not even a 1-7 shot. The closest, though, might be this: If you're drafted in the first round by the Steelers, you will have a starting job no later than your second pro season.

Only one of their first-round draft choices did not become a regular starter by at least his second season since the infamous Huey Richardson in 1991. That was offensive tackle Jamain Stephens, a monumental bust of a pick in '96. Stephens did not become a regular until '98 and was cut the night after he collapsed, out of shape, during running drills on the first day of training camp the next season.

Those are the cold, hard facts that face Larry Foote as he tries to hold onto his starting job at inside linebacker this spring and summer. Foote has been the Steelers' starting mack inside linebacker the past four seasons, lining up next to James Farrior. During that time, he started all 64 games and led the team with 123 tackles in 2005, despite not playing in their dime defense on passing downs.

Looming large behind him on the spring depth chart is Lawrence Timmons, the Steelers' first-round choice in 2007, the 15th overall pick and the first under Mike Tomlin's watch.

The result of the competition going on at the mack linebacker looks inevitable.

"I don't think it's competition," Foote said after another spring practice. "I really think it's just a matter of time until they throw him in there, just because of the politics of the game -- and it looks like he can play."

That's a major difference between Timmons and Stephens/Richardson, each of whom showed a stunning inability to play on the pro level right from the start. Timmons played mostly on special teams last season and has displayed great speed and quickness in practices.

He must show he knows the defense and has the football instincts that mesmerized Tomlin when he saw him at Florida State.

"We don't know yet because he hasn't been out there," Foote said of Timmons' limited play in games, "but it looks like he can get it down.

"My time might be winding down at that position. It's just a matter of when the coaches throw him in there."

Foote won't give up his four-year hold on the job without a fight, despite his words that merely reflect an understanding of the situation.

"My whole career has been up and down. I've been in this spot before. You can't worry about that stuff. When they feel like he's ready, I'm quite sure he's going to be in there."

Farrior was a first-round draft choice of the New York Jets who had trouble finding a regular position until he signed with the Steelers as a free agent in 2002 and flourished here. He, too, believes Timmons can handle the job, but will have to pry it away from Foote's grasp first.

"It's not going to be an easy win if he's trying to take the spot," Farrior said. "We all want to win and we all want to do what's best for the team. Whatever that is and whatever the coaches ask us to do we have to do."

It's feasible that ultimately Timmons could play the buck linebacker position, the one Farrior holds. Barring injuries, that won't happen this season, but Farrior, 33, enters the final season of his contract, and Timmons' abilities seem suited more for the buck than the mack.

The buck must drop and cover receivers more often, must be quick and fast -- it's a more athletic position. The buck usually stays on the field in the dime defense as the lone inside linebacker; he's the one who calls the defensive signals, and Farrior will wear the helmet with the radio receiver in it this season.

Tomlin does not publicly analyze the various competitions on his team this spring, but he's known to be excited about Timmons' possibilities. He's having a much better time of it than he did as a rookie, when his hamstring was injured in the first minicamp practice and he missed the rest of the spring drills with his new teammates.

"He's healthy, for one," Farrior said. "And I think this offseason gave him some time to reflect and look back on the defense and try to really understand it. I think he's coming along just fine."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08163/888894-66.stm

Galax Steeler
06-11-2008, 03:34 AM
Its great to hear that Timmons is learning and playing better this year I hope to see him on the field more this year.

Rhee Rhee
06-11-2008, 03:49 AM
Foote is a solid player no matter what people may think...

he does his job and is similar in ways to ryan clark...

i hope that foote keeps his spot and maybe timmons takes over for farrior once he is let go...

Preacher
06-11-2008, 04:20 AM
Foote is a solid player no matter what people may think...

he does his job and is similar in ways to ryan clark...

i hope that foote keeps his spot and maybe timmons takes over for farrior once he is let go...

Why?

If Timmons is better, I want Timmons to play instead of Foote. Then, when Farrior leaves, Timmons will have the experience, can slip over to the buck position, and open up the mack for another young player.

I want the 11 men that form the best team on the field... I don't care what their names are.

Aussie_steeler
06-11-2008, 06:57 AM
I want the 11 men that form the best team on the field... I don't care what their names are.

I second that motion. I am guessing that is also Tomlins view.

This old adage hold true in all team sports and is the reason why nfl teams like the redskins will rarely succeed.

SteelersMongol
06-11-2008, 07:56 AM
Wow, as much as I like Timmons (I heard so much about the kid), I want Foote 2 not give up his position. I'd say Foote is still kinda young & has so much 4 us.

RoethlisBURGHer
06-11-2008, 08:08 AM
Why?

If Timmons is better, I want Timmons to play instead of Foote. Then, when Farrior leaves, Timmons will have the experience, can slip over to the buck position, and open up the mack for another young player.

I want the 11 men that form the best team on the field... I don't care what their names are.

I agree wholeheartedly. I want the best 11 on either side of the ball.

I like Larry Foote, but if Timmons makes this defense better then Timmons should start and get the majority of defensive snaps.

slippy
06-11-2008, 09:17 AM
wow, some of you guys seem kinda quick to put farrior out to pasture. i feel he plays 4 more years at a high level! i think he'll be one of those old linebackers that won't die, like seau.

19ward86
06-11-2008, 09:44 AM
I love the fact that we have 2 linebackers that could be starting for a lot of other teams and they are out for the 2nd ILB spot.

LVSteelersfan
06-11-2008, 09:56 AM
Foote is a solid player no matter what people may think...

he does his job and is similar in ways to ryan clark...

i hope that foote keeps his spot and maybe timmons takes over for farrior once he is let go...

Sorry, but I keep rewinding back to the Jacksonville game watching (slow of Foote) not being able to catch up to MJD. He wasn't even close. He needs to get out of there and get someone with some speed in that spot. He may do what he is supposed to but the Steelers need linebackers that go way beyond what they are supposed to playing in the 3-4. Time for Foote to be a solid backup.

revefsreleets
06-11-2008, 10:14 AM
LOVE camp competition! The team only gets better because of it...

El-Gonzo Jackson
06-11-2008, 10:30 AM
wow, some of you guys seem kinda quick to put farrior out to pasture. i feel he plays 4 more years at a high level! i think he'll be one of those old linebackers that won't die, like seau.

You are absolutely right.

But, you forget the salary cap and Steelers history. If Timmons plays well, he will get the starting job next season and Foote will also be under contract. It leaves a 34 year old LB Farrior free to sign on for 2-3 more seasons somewhere else and paves the way for a young Timmons to be here for at least the length of his 2nd contract.

What is better to have....a 25 year old athletic gifted LB getting playing experience, or a 34 year old LB playing out the last few years of his career???

I like Farrior a ton, but to me the answer is easy.

TrueSteelerForLife
06-11-2008, 10:53 AM
How about that Humpal Kid. Do you see him ever actually getting on the field with the starding defense, maybe two years down the road, when both farrior and foote are done?

tony hipchest
06-11-2008, 11:05 AM
How about that Humpal Kid. Do you see him ever actually getting on the field with the starding defense, maybe two years down the road, when both farrior and foote are done?i definitely think its possible. he may not crack the starting lineup quicker than foote, harrison, or haggans, but if he proves his worth as a back up and special teamer, theres no reason to believe he wont be "next in line".

as for the article, it definitely sounds like farrior and foote are witnessing (on a daily basis) what tomlin saw when he made timmons the 15th pick overall.

Elvis
06-11-2008, 11:34 AM
I absolutely love what I am hearing about Timmons all the way around. I agree with most thinking that if he is better than Foote he needs to be on the field. I look forward to seeing him in some game action than means something..

missedgehead
06-11-2008, 01:02 PM
I am new here. There has to be a time for the young guys to make their mark on the team. That is how I look at it. I know that the older guys like Farrior and Foote want their spots, but eventually the young guys like Timmons have to make a name for themselves.

RoethlisBURGHer
06-11-2008, 01:23 PM
I think that Foote would really not have a problem being replaced by Timmons. Larry Foote seems like a team player and would take whatever role asked of him, as long as it helps the team. I'm not saying he'd be happy about it, but I don't see him throwing a fit about it and asked to be traded or released.

James Farrior has said that he would like to retire as a Pittsburgh Steeker. That makes me think that he'll take a paycut to stay with the team, even if it's eventually as a backup for a season or two.

St33lersguy
06-11-2008, 01:26 PM
I want the starting linebacker to be whichever guy performs better in camp and preseason. This competition will be interesting and I hope each will make the other better

Galax Steeler
06-12-2008, 03:33 AM
Wow, as much as I like Timmons (I heard so much about the kid), I want Foote 2 not give up his position. I'd say Foote is still kinda young & has so much 4 us.

Foote is getting some age on him if Timmons is better then we need him on the field there is no reason to keep a no.1 pick on the bench if he is better.