View Full Version : Fox could see expanded role with Steelers

09-07-2009, 11:04 PM
Fox could see expanded role with Steelers
By Scott Brown
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Larry Foote had been a starter at right inside linebacker since 2004 and proved to be particularly stout against the run.

The Steelers released Foote last May but a player cut out of the same mold may take his place in the lineup, if only temporarily.

With Lawrence Timmons' status for the season opener against visiting Tennessee in question because of an ankle injury, Keyaron Fox is in line to start at right inside linebacker.

Timmons has not practiced since an Aug. 29 preseason game, and last Friday he got his sprained left ankle re-examined by doctors. Of all the things that might cause coach Mike Tomlin to lose sleep leading up to the 8:30 p.m. game Thursday at Heinz Field, not having Timmons might rank low on the list.

That is how much confidence the Steelers have in Fox, who is entering his second season with the team.

"He made plays all preseason that gave us a great deal of trust in him," Tomlin said. "This guy can play. If called upon I know he can uphold the standards of the Pittsburgh Steelers."

While Timmons will start if healthy, Fox has carved out a bigger role for himself on the defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL last season. A special-teams stalwart -- his teammates voted him a co-captain of the special teams -- Fox will also play on the Steelers' goal-line and short-yardage defense. Carolina running back DeAngelo Williams found out last Thursday about Fox's ability to stuff the run.

On the first series of the preseason finale, Fox dropped Williams, who rushed for 1,515 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, for a two-yard loss on third and one.

"I feel like one of the strong points of my game is tackling and stopping the run," Fox said. "My biggest thing is just getting to the football."

Fox got to the Steelers in March of 2008 following a signing that barely registered a ripple with other teams courting marquee free agents.

He spent four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, but Fox sustained a serious knee injury in 2005 and became expendable when the Chiefs used the 15th overall pick of the NFL draft that year on linebacker Derrick Johnson.

His arrival in Pittsburgh bolstered the Steelers' special teams as well as their depth at linebacker.

Now Fox is in line to make only the fifth start of his career. And if he plays a lot like Foote, who is now with the Detroit Lions, there is a decided difference between the two.

While Foote proved to be one of the more chatty players on the Steelers, Fox doesn't say a whole lot and prefers to stay in the background.

On the field, however, he can be a different person.

"He's a monster," Steelers outside linebacker Andre Frazier said. "Whenever you talk to him he's real relaxed, cool, calm. He's the same way on the field, but once the play starts the beast comes out of him. He's not too cool and calm when he's rocking somebody. I guess he has that inner drive that forces him to go out there and work hard every day.":tt03::tt:

That hard work could eventually lead to an opportunity to start somewhere else or even with the Steelers. If he is thrust into the lineup Thursday, there is little concern among the Steelers' coaches and players.

The same goes for Fox, who said he is much more comfortable in Dick LeBeau's defense than he was at this time a year ago.

"Last year I was able to squeak through the preseason with limited calls and making a few checks and stuff but I don't think I was really prepared for a full season and knowing 100 percent of what I was supposed to do," Fox said. "This year is a lot better for me."

Scott Brown can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

09-07-2009, 11:05 PM
I can't wait to see this kid play with the first team defense. He is such an explosive player on ST and in the pre season he made great plays with the defense!

09-07-2009, 11:07 PM
After watching him in preseason, I feel good with him as depth at ILB and starter till timmons returns.

09-07-2009, 11:26 PM
Fox really surprised me and showed a lot in the preseason with the First Team D. He'll do fine.

09-07-2009, 11:54 PM
They say it's hard to find three quality LBs in the NFL, and even harder to find four quality LBs. We have five quality LBs. Think about that for a moment...

09-08-2009, 12:42 AM
hell hold down the inside linebacker spot til timmons is back, hes a good player, a natural steeler

09-08-2009, 11:08 AM
We truly are blessed to have 5 very good LBs for this defense. I was very happy when the Steelers brought Fox back to the team. Now he can hold things down until Timmons is 100%.

09-08-2009, 11:12 AM
I was really relieved to see this guy turn into what looks like a reliable player. After Foote left, I was worried like hell about our depth at ILB.

09-08-2009, 12:20 PM
rey maulalagulauuuu is looking better now over the hood pick... he was in our hands...

Steel Head
09-08-2009, 12:40 PM
rey maulalagulauuuu is looking better now over the hood pick... he was in our hands...

We could have traded Foote and our #1 to Detroit for their #20 pick and drafted Michael Oher or Eric Wood

09-08-2009, 12:56 PM
rey maulalagulauuuu is looking better now over the hood pick... he was in our hands...

It won't be long until you're glad we have Hood

Fire Haley
09-08-2009, 01:07 PM
LB Timmons likely out of Steelers game

Tuesday, September 08, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Linebacker Lawrence Timmons did not practice today, which means he is not expected to play Thursday night when the Steelers kick off the NFL season against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field.

Keyaron Fox will start at inside linebacker and also play in the nickel defense. Fox, a special teams co-captain, will make his first start with the Steelers.


09-08-2009, 01:34 PM
It won't be long until you're glad we have Hood

i like hood... but if timmons is down and we lose another LB .... Rey looks good.

09-08-2009, 01:54 PM
i like hood... but if timmons is down and we lose another LB .... Rey looks good.

And if we lose Aaron?

09-08-2009, 02:13 PM
I think we got the right player for us in Hood. Malualuga (or however it's spelled lol) is a player that can play one postion, while Hood can play 3 in a pinch.