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Old 06-11-2008, 12:32 AM   #1
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Default Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

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

Last edited by fansince'76; 06-11-2008 at 12:38 AM. Reason: Added link to article.
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

Its great to hear that Timmons is learning and playing better this year I hope to see him on the field more this year.
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

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...
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:20 AM   #4
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Default Re: Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhee Rhee View Post
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.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

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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.
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Old 06-11-2008, 07:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

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.
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Old 06-11-2008, 08:08 AM   #7
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Default Re: Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Preacher View Post
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.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:17 AM   #8
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Default Re: Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

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.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:44 AM   #9
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Default Re: Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

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.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhee Rhee View Post
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.
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