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Old 07-07-2009, 05:49 PM   #1
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Default AFC's breakout players

AFC's breakout players

Lawrence Timmons, LB, Steelers

By James Walker

Former first-round pick Lawrence Timmons probably could've started for 31 other franchises last season. But at the linebacker factory also known as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Timmons has had to wait two seasons before he finally gets his chance to start in 2009 for the reigning Super Bowl champions.

With Pittsburgh's outstanding track record of churning out great linebackers, do not be surprised if Timmons is next in line. Timmons is fast, he's physical and his athleticism gives innovative defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau more blitz and coverage options than former starter Larry Foote, who was recently released and signed by the Detroit Lions.

In limited playing time last season, Timmons recorded 65 tackles, five sacks and one interception, which he returned 89 yards to help seal a victory against the New England Patriots. He has also been one of Pittsburgh's better players on special teams.

Whether Timmons is a natural fit at inside linebacker remains one of the few questions. He has the natural ability to rush the passer. But so do outside linebackers James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley, who combined for 27.5 sacks last season. But it has been difficult enough to find playing time for Timmons in Pittsburgh's elite defense the past two years, and Foote's departure inside opens that opportunity.

With James Farrior, Harrison, Woodley and now Timmons, Pittsburgh has the most talented and dynamic group of linebackers in the NFL. But what's scary is Timmons, although inexperienced, could be the most athletically gifted of the foursome.

Timmons' role has yet to be determined. Expect Woodley and Harrison to once again register high sack numbers, while the veteran Farrior remains the brains in the middle of the defense. Timmons could be asked to do a little bit of everything, which includes Foote's old job of stuffing the run, pressuring the quarterback up the middle, and even dropping deep in coverage if Pittsburgh decides to run more Cover 2 defenses under head coach Mike Tomlin this season.

Can Pittsburgh's No. 1-rated defense from last season get even better in 2009? With Timmons in the starting lineup, it's certainly possible.
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Old 07-07-2009, 06:18 PM   #2
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: AFC's breakout players

Don't look back, cuz here come Da Steelers!
Cuz Lamarr 'Don't call me David' Woodley said so!
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Old 07-07-2009, 07:54 PM   #4
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Default Re: AFC's breakout players

Rawr, that is one sexy linebacker corp right there
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Old 07-07-2009, 09:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: AFC's breakout players

It will be interesting to see how he handles run support duties.

Tenn. in week 1 looks like the biggest rushing challenge on the schedule this year, other than the Vikes, but Peterson isn't as much of an up-the-middle runner.
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Old 07-07-2009, 10:48 PM   #6
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Default Re: AFC's breakout players

I really hope that Timmons has worked on his play vs. the run. He honestly is quick and explosive, but not exceptionally strong between the tackles.........where he probably will start this year.
once a sandwich artist....soon to be Sack Artist.
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Old 07-08-2009, 02:59 AM   #7
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Default Re: AFC's breakout players

When LT was drafted was he projected as in ILB?
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: AFC's breakout players

I expect Timmons to have his problems, and also to have some unbelievable plays.

I think we are about to embark on a 3-5 year period of the best linebacker play this team has EVER --thats right, EVER seen.

Even during the years of the Steel curtain, I don't know if you had quite THIS MUCH talent, athleticism, and sheer ability to get to the QB. Furthermore, I think Harrison is actually even meaner than Lambert, who is my favorite All-time Steeler.

Mark that with two safeties that may be better than the safeties of the 70's, a line that is a bit under the 70's, and there is the serious possiblity that a new steal curtain is being born right before our eyes.

The wild card will be the cornerback play.
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Old 07-08-2009, 03:48 AM   #9
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Default Re: AFC's breakout players

I think he will do good stuffing the runs. He will have a few problems along he way but I think his attitude will help him alot on the run plays.
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Old 07-08-2009, 06:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: AFC's breakout players

They say Timmons has added some bulk so I think he will be fine against the run while still giving solid pass coverage.
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