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lamberts-lost-tooth
08-19-2008, 03:16 AM
Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


There was one drawback to the basic defensive plan the Steelers used in their second preseason game in Toronto, and it wasn't the ease with which the Buffalo Bills went up and down the field. It was that Lawrence Timmons nearly didn't get on the field until the second quarter.

That is not likely to happen when the Steelers play in Minnesota Saturday night, a game in which the starters typically see their most playing time in the preseason and the coaches sometimes trot out an extra wrinkle or two.

And it most certainly won't happen when the regular season begins Sept. 7, even if Timmons, the Steelers' No. 1 draft pick last year, doesn't beat out veteran Larry Foote for one of the inside linebacker positions in the 3-4 defense.

Timmons appeared for only one play during the first three series against the Bills because the Steelers used their base 3-4 defense for all but five plays and rarely blitzed the quarterback. But, once he got on the field in the second quarter, playing the "Mack" inside position with the second-team defense, Timmons stood out like the CN Tower that rose above the playing field at the Rogers Centre.

He has been doing that since training camp began, and there is no reason to suggest that will change as the Steelers shift their preseason location from Saint Vincent College in Latrobe to their South Side training facility.

"His pedigree shows every time he's on the field," coach Mike Tomlin said.

Tomlin has tried to downplay Timmons' emergence as a player who could impact the defense more than LaMarr Woodley, the Steelers' No. 2 draft choice last year, who will start at left outside linebacker. He has done so because he likes the way Timmons quietly has approached his second season and doesn't want to say anything that would allow the 6-foot-3, 242-pound linebacker to think he should be immediately bronzed into the Hall of Fame. Or something like that.

But, as the preseason morphs toward the regular season, the only thing that will grow increasingly more difficult for Tomlin will be trying to keep Timmons off the playing field. He has been defending passes in the end zone, squashing plays in the flat and closing on running backs as though they've taken his meal money. And he has been exploding into quarterbacks like no Steelers linebacker since Kendrell Bell was a rookie.

One difference: Timmons appears to know what he is doing.

"It's different when you're running and don't know what you're doing," Timmons said. "You'll just be running like a chicken with his head off. But when you know what you have to do, you're comfortable and you can play faster because you know where you're supposed to be."

That is the biggest difference between Timmons and Bell, who was a No. 2 draft choice in 2001. Bell didn't understand the defense as a rookie, but defensive coordinator Tim Lewis was so enamored with his explosive physical ability that he used Bell merely to rush the quarterback and blow up plays in the backfield. But, after being named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year, Bell never was the same productive player. He became one-dimensional because he never learned the defense and was eventually let go in free agency.

Testament to Timmons' development is that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau uses him as an extra linebacker in the nickel defense, a role that requires a lot of pass-coverage responsibilities. In those situations, Timmons will replace Foote, a seven-year veteran. When safety Troy Polamalu missed the first three weeks of training camp, it was Timmons who played his role in the quarter defense -- an alignment that looked like the nickel defense because four linebackers were on the field. In actuality, Timmons was playing the spot usually manned by a four-time Pro Bowl safety.

"I just go do what the coaches say when they put me in," Timmons said. "I just try to do my job. When you have a year under your belt, you're feeling a lot better. I just went out and made plays that came to me."

Well, not all of them. Sometimes, Timmons went to them.

That happened in the second quarter when he sacked Bills quarterback J.P. Losman. And it especially happened in the third when he delivered a thundering hit on quarterback Matt Baker as he released the ball.

"You got to love that," Timmons said of getting a shot at the quarterback. "I'm just glad it came."

It probably will, so long as he gets the opportunities.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08232/905365-66.stm

Galax Steeler
08-19-2008, 03:46 AM
I can't wait for him to hit the field when he finally gets the chance to start everytime I read something about him it is a positive thing he is learning pretty quick he will be a force for a long time.

El-Gonzo Jackson
08-19-2008, 05:38 AM
The only thing keeping Timmons from the starting job is his inexperience and that he doesnt play the run between the tackles well yet.

Timmons was a backup to Ernie Simms at Florida St. and only really saw a lot of playing time for 1 year in college. Larry Foote played 4 years at Michigan and was a former Big 10 player of the year.

Gonna be fun watching him get on the field more this season, but I think Foote probably begins the season as starter.

GBMelBlount
08-19-2008, 06:10 AM
He has been defending passes in the end zone, squashing plays in the flat and closing on running backs as though they've taken his meal money. And he has been exploding into quarterbacks like no Steelers linebacker since Kendrell Bell was a rookie.

I was THOROUGHLY impressed with Timmons play vs. the Bills. Perhaps he WAS worthy of a first round pick. I hope so.

wootawnee
08-19-2008, 07:15 AM
This dude makes plays.......The 2 that stick out are :

1. When he stepped on Ricky Williams' shoulder and recovered a fumble in the muddy Miami game......
2. When he grabbed that deflection before it went out of bounds in the Raven's game after Silverback leveled Ed Reed.......

This dude hustles......And that is what makes plays........Robin Cole and Dirt Winston were the same way........They hustled all the time.........He gotta get in the games......

BlastFurnace
08-19-2008, 09:26 AM
I understand not rushing him, but if we don't pick up the pace and get him out there, it will be time for his 2nd contract.

lilyoder6
08-19-2008, 10:30 AM
i think timmons is gonna make a big impact this yr coming off the bench...

steeltheone
08-19-2008, 11:01 AM
A number one pick needs to be on the field, period. He will make mistakes, but he's gotta make them sooner or later. Larry Foote is average at best. Great back up and fill in. We need Timmons youth and speed NOW!

19ward86
08-19-2008, 11:05 AM
I do believe that Timmons can and will be a great LB in the NFL but another year to backup James and Foote might do him some good. He can be the primary backup and also start on ST and play a little OLB.

Alva Lord
08-19-2008, 11:41 AM
The team has the potential of having a much better defense than they had last year and they were number one last year. With the emergence of Silverback last season along with the limited time we saw Lamar Woodley and now Timmons is proving his worth... Look out opposing offensive coordinators because they're going to lose a lot of sleep trying to figure out how to handle the Steelers defense.

stlrtruck
08-19-2008, 12:52 PM
I understand not rushing him, but if we don't pick up the pace and get him out there, it will be time for his 2nd contract.

Then he'll be cheaper (LOL).

I agree. I mean we paid top dollar for him as a rookie. We've got to utilize the youth movement we've got going on on our defense. However, I also don't want to push out the veterans just yet.

BlastFurnace
08-19-2008, 01:22 PM
Then he'll be cheaper (LOL).

I agree. I mean we paid top dollar for him as a rookie. We've got to utilize the youth movement we've got going on on our defense. However, I also don't want to push out the veterans just yet.

I agree. I don't dislike Foote, but we have a real potential star in Timmons that can make a difference...like Kendrell Bell did for a brief amount of time. I just want to see what this kid can do on a regular basis.

NJarhead
08-19-2008, 02:59 PM
But, after being named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year, Bell never was the same productive player. He became one-dimensional because he never learned the defense and was eventually let go in free agency.


Really?? Because, I recall him being let go due to the fact that he was constantly injured (groin issues).

Texasteel
08-19-2008, 03:33 PM
I understand not rushing him, but if we don't pick up the pace and get him out there, it will be time for his 2nd contract.

I think we have pretty good coach that is getting to know his players very well. Tomlin knows what he has in Timmons, and he has to have seen the improvement he's made from last year, he also knows his short comings better than we do. He's is going to get Timmons on the field a bunch this year, but maybe not as a starter.
I know I was the one saying the Timmons might be a bust if he doesn't start this year at some point, but I am backing off that faster than the commissioner can burn video tapes. I see a very special player getting better every time I see him play.
We will just have to be patent.

BlastFurnace
08-19-2008, 03:39 PM
I think we have pretty good coach that is getting to know his players very well. Tomlin knows what he has in Timmons, and he has to have seen the improvement he's made from last year, he also knows his short comings better than we do. He's is going to get Timmons on the field a bunch this year, but maybe not as a starter.
I know I was the one saying the Timmons might be a bust if he doesn't start this year at some point, but I am backing off that faster than the commissioner can burn video tapes. I see a very special player getting better every time I see him play.
We will just have to be patent.

True. I think he is every bit as talented as Bell was when we threw him into the fire. I can live with Timmons's mistakes. I think his natural ability will allow him to hold his own, just like Kendrell's did.

Nice line about burning video tapes.

revefsreleets
08-19-2008, 07:27 PM
It's a fine line. Foote knows the 3-4 and can handle every assignment handed to him. Joey Porter got a bad rap towards the end because he wasn't "producing" (read: putting up big sack numbers) but he was a complete 3-4 OLB at the end of his career. He could scrape, spy, play the run, drop into coverage almost in a DB role, and rush the passer when needed. He was rarely out of position and could be counted on to do his job regardless of what that job was.

Timmons is obviously more talented than Foote, but he's going to make mistakes and won't be able to fulfill all the roles that might be asked of him. So what do you do as a coach? Play the steady guy who knows his role or play the talented guy who'll make splash plays but also get smoked on occasion?

Tough call...and why these guys get paid the big bucks to make these decisions.

lilyoder6
08-19-2008, 08:01 PM
i would start the steady player and then throw in the splash player in a couple of plays so he can make some big plays.. like changing the pace of the running game between sprinter and pounder

Davison_K
08-20-2008, 06:33 PM
A number one pick needs to be on the field, period. He will make mistakes, but he's gotta make them sooner or later. Larry Foote is average at best. Great back up and fill in. We need Timmons youth and speed NOW!

I disagree with you. Throwing a number one pick in their rookie year can kill their confidence and kill their emergence as a top tier player because their confidence is shot and they don't know what is going on. Timmons, yes is in his second season, but the Steelers still aren't going to throw him in the game every play when they have Foote who is more than average imo. Timmons will make an impact but he doesn't need to start to do so. I would rather they ease him in this year and start him next year. He will know what to do with the experience he is given and will make fewer mistakes as a full time starter next year. This was prob. the plan last year but was delayed by his injury, and his inability to learn such a complex defense in a short period of time.

BlastFurnace
08-20-2008, 07:15 PM
I disagree with you. Throwing a number one pick in their rookie year can kill their confidence and kill their emergence as a top tier player because their confidence is shot and they don't know what is going on. Timmons, yes is in his second season, but the Steelers still aren't going to throw him in the game every play when they have Foote who is more than average imo. Timmons will make an impact but he doesn't need to start to do so. I would rather they ease him in this year and start him next year. He will know what to do with the experience he is given and will make fewer mistakes as a full time starter next year. This was prob. the plan last year but was delayed by his injury, and his inability to learn such a complex defense in a short period of time.

It can go either way. Kendrell Bell's confidence and best year was his first. Larry Foote looked clueless and was steamrolled over and over again in the Tennessee playoff game of 2003 and it didn't affect his confidence at all.

I think Timmons needs to be on the field. We can't be drafting people #1 in the draft and not get them starting until year 3 of their contract. This kid can play, can be a difference maker, and we need him out there.

Do you hold the same opinion about Lamar Woodley as well? If not, why not?

revefsreleets
08-20-2008, 08:24 PM
That's why it's a case by case basis thing. And, you know what, the FO knows best in these cases...they really do. Who else is right there in all the day-to-day dealings?

BlastFurnace
08-20-2008, 08:54 PM
Check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgVXrStylIQ

This kid needs to be starting.

stlrtruck
08-20-2008, 09:07 PM
Check this out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wgVXrStylIQ

This kid needs to be starting.

Just have to make sure you don't play him in only blitzing situations or other teams would be able to pick up on that.

Otherwise give him his license and let him go hunting QBs. First one on the list Schaub.

Preacher
08-20-2008, 11:57 PM
Man... our LB's are once again FAST and STRONG.... scary, just scary.

The Duke
08-21-2008, 12:19 AM
timmons play has been very impressive this preseason. he looks stronger, faster, smarter, and looks way bigger


Man... our LB's are once again FAST and STRONG.... scary, just scary.

be afraid NFL QBs, be very afraid :tt02: