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An important history lesson for you TRUE Steelers fans!

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Old 08-19-2008, 04:16 AM   #1
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Default Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

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
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Old 08-19-2008, 04:46 AM   #2
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Default Re: Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

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.
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Old 08-19-2008, 06:38 AM   #3
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Default Re: Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

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.
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Old 08-19-2008, 07:10 AM   #4
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Default Re: Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

Quote:
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.
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Old 08-19-2008, 08:15 AM   #5
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Default Re: Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

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......
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:26 AM   #6
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Default Re: Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

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.
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Old 08-19-2008, 11:30 AM   #7
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Default Re: Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

i think timmons is gonna make a big impact this yr coming off the bench...
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

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!
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:05 PM   #9
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Default Re: Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

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.
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Old 08-19-2008, 12:41 PM   #10
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Default Re: Tomlin tries not to rush Timmons

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.
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