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View Full Version : Timmons seems poised to oust Foote at inside LB



BlitzburghRockCity
06-11-2008, 07:32 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08163/888894-66.stm?cmpid=HBEHTML


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."

See this is what I don't like. If Timmons can beat out Foote for the starting job then fine, so be it and he'll have earned the spot. If he just gets that spot by default because he's a 1st round pick and coaches just want him on the field then that's BS, IMO. This is what I was hoping would change when Tomlin get the job; players would have to earn their roster spots and not just be given them because of their status from the draft or their contract. This is what so many teams in the league do and what Cowher made a habit of doing; we need to have players on the field who win the battles in training camp outright.

K Train
06-11-2008, 08:29 AM
every report ive heard about timmons has been very encouraging, seems like hes gonna be a badass. and with cowher it was a complete opposite. young players NEVER won starting jobs if one of cowhers boys was still in that spot, its refreshing to see timmons win that job, they wont give it to him if he cant do it, but the fact that they will give it to him is a good sign

Steel58
06-11-2008, 09:16 AM
Put the kid in and see what he can do...

okiesteeler
06-11-2008, 09:32 AM
I dont want to see Foote go anywhere, he is a good lb, and if he loses the job, then i think that he will want to be traded to somewhere that he can play

ejsteeler
06-11-2008, 12:33 PM
1st, I don't think Foote will lose the battle, but if he does, all the better for us because if Timmons is better than Foote, we have substantial back up and ST player.
2nd, Foote is a Bettis disciple and has bought into the "Team First" mentality and I believe he will stay put and help out the best he can where he can.

BlitzburghRockCity
06-11-2008, 12:57 PM
Foote knows how the NFL works and even when you've been a good player and done your job there's no guarantee you'll keep it when high round draft picks come in or if you get towards the down side of your career. I think Larry has a good 4 years left in him and he's done very well for us. I'd like to see him stay with us and end his career but if he doesn't keep his job in 2008 he'll probably want to go elsewhere.

SteelfordWexler
06-11-2008, 01:48 PM
If our scouts did their job - Timmons should win the job from Foote this year. The interesting problem comes next year. What will the FO do with Farrior? If history holds - don't expect Farrior to get extended unless he accepts a discount. The article points out that Timmons fits Farrior's "Buck" position better than Foote's "Mack" - so the decision on Farrior may hinge on how well Timmons plays this year.

If things go the way it looks now, we may see Foote back in the starting lineup as "Mack" in 2009 after spending this year as a reserve. I think he is under contract thru 2010.

K Train
06-11-2008, 02:00 PM
i think timmons is versatile enough to play all four spots, which has been what farrior has been able to do too. actually harrison plays very well in the middle too. Foote is very one dimensional in his game, as is woodley as a pass rushing OLB. Farrior, harrison and timmons all bring alot of flexibility

Black@Gold Forever32
06-11-2008, 07:13 PM
i think timmons is versatile enough to play all four spots, which has been what farrior has been able to do too. actually harrison plays very well in the middle too. Foote is very one dimensional in his game, as is woodley as a pass rushing OLB. Farrior, harrison and timmons all bring alot of flexibility

Nice post and agree 100 percent......Plus Foote doesn't have Timmon's speed and athleticism..........Foote is a good player but he doesn't have the wow factor that Timmons has....You can tell when you watch Timmons that he has that type of potential....

I think even if Foote is the a backup that he will be cool with it....He is smart enough to know that Farrior's status with the team is up in the year for next year...So he could regain his starters spot next year and Timmons replaces Farrior.....

K Train
06-11-2008, 07:44 PM
yeah until bruce davis wows them and they have to put him in harrisons spot and slide james to the middle lol.

i dunno, foote has a big on field ego. not sure he'll take kindly to the bench

BlitzburghRockCity
06-11-2008, 10:40 PM
Nice post and agree 100 percent......Plus Foote doesn't have Timmon's speed and athleticism..........Foote is a good player but he doesn't have the wow factor that Timmons has....You can tell when you watch Timmons that he has that type of potential....

I think even if Foote is the a backup that he will be cool with it....He is smart enough to know that Farrior's status with the team is up in the year for next year...So he could regain his starters spot next year and Timmons replaces Farrior.....


How can you tell Timmons has that potential & Wow factor, he hasn't even played yet.. :lol:

If Farrior is still at the top of his game this year I wouldn't be surprised to see him take maybe a 2 or 3 year extension for modest money to stay with the team. If his play shows signs of declining this year then that definitely opens up the door for Foote again 2009 and then we'll probably see the team grab a middle linebacker in the draft at that point to groom as a backup role and eventual starter.

Koopa
06-11-2008, 10:41 PM
i like foote, but i wouldn't mind seeing new blood in the starting lineup


has timmons ever done an interview?? and every pic i see of him he has a "i don't want to be here" look on his face, i don't think i've ever seen him smile, i bet he looked like this when he found out he got drafted

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/200806/20080611mftimmons0611_330.jpg

Black@Gold Forever32
06-11-2008, 11:48 PM
How can you tell Timmons has that potential & Wow factor, he hasn't even played yet.. :lol:

If Farrior is still at the top of his game this year I wouldn't be surprised to see him take maybe a 2 or 3 year extension for modest money to stay with the team. If his play shows signs of declining this year then that definitely opens up the door for Foote again 2009 and then we'll probably see the team grab a middle linebacker in the draft at that point to groom as a backup role and eventual starter.

Timmons was a first round pick...That alone means he has potential...Didn't think I had to explain that...lol....As for the wow factor.....When you read about the type of speed he has.....It was reported during mini camp that Timmons was running two steps behind Holmes down field...Thats impressive speed for a LB...Combine that with his hitting ability and I think he has that wow factor...But what do I know...I don't no ****....

K Train
06-11-2008, 11:52 PM
and timmons played great in his limited time last year...special teams, killing ricky williams...ect

K Train
06-11-2008, 11:56 PM
i like foote, but i wouldn't mind seeing new blood in the starting lineup


has timmons ever done an interview?? and every pic i see of him he has a "i don't want to be here" look on his face, i don't think i've ever seen him smile, i bet he looked like this when he found out he got drafted

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/200806/20080611mftimmons0611_330.jpg

hardcore thugs like us dont smile.

damn

Koopa
06-12-2008, 12:08 AM
hardcore thugs like us dont smile.

damn

you're white............ white ppl ain't thugs........ lol

MDSteel15
06-12-2008, 01:14 AM
You guys better hope this guy wakes up and plays his azz off! I don't know how you get WOW factor either considering he was a 1 year wonder in college! And yes, I saw him play and he didn't impress me against the all mighty Maryland Terrapins! I don't see where he is enthusiastic either about being here! Don't wanna be here, leave and let somebody else take over...

Steel58
06-12-2008, 08:46 AM
we'll see what happens in training camp

ejsteeler
06-12-2008, 10:42 AM
Timmons was a first round pick...That alone means he has potential...Didn't think I had to explain that...lol....As for the wow factor.....When you read about the type of speed he has.....It was reported during mini camp that Timmons was running two steps behind Holmes down field...Thats impressive speed for a LB...Combine that with his hitting ability and I think he has that wow factor...But what do I know...I don't no shiat....

Come on now, you know as well as the rest of us that first round pick does not automatically mean break out player. It is hoped for, certainly, but I agree with TG, let's wait to see him play. Either way though, as I said earlier, we win. :yellowthumb:

K Train
06-12-2008, 12:35 PM
if you scout them right then yes being a first round pick does make you expected to break out.

He wasnt a one year wonder, he was a one year starter because he was playing behind ernie simms and kameron wimbley....two of the best LBs in the league right now. Hes a baller and will be a monster on this defense because he can do it all, hes played in coverage, hes played against the run, hes lined up at DE and rushed the passer

ejsteeler
06-12-2008, 12:36 PM
if you scout them right then yes being a first round pick does make you expected to break out.

He wasnt a one year wonder, he was a one year starter because he was playing behind ernie simms and kameron wimbley....two of the best LBs in the league right now. Hes a baller and will be a monster on this defense because he can do it all, hes played in coverage, hes played against the run, hes lined up at DE and rushed the passer

I hear ya', and here's hoping.....:crossfingers:

Steel58
06-13-2008, 08:45 AM
hopefully he'll have a big season

BlitzburghRockCity
08-03-2008, 01:51 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08216/901596-66.stm


There is no battle between Larry Foote, the incumbent, and Lawrence Timmons, the former No. 1 draft pick, for the starting inside linebacker position known as the "Mack." At least, not in the mind of linebackers coach Keith Butler, who said the job belongs to Foote.

But Timmons is going to make it difficult for coach Mike Tomlin not to get him on the playing field, especially after the way he has been performing in his second training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe.

And especially after the performance he put on Friday night in a practice at Latrobe Stadium, where Timmons, the Steelers' No. 1 draft pick last year, looked like a young Kendrell Bell in a pass-rushing drill, exploding through anyone who got in his way.

"He moved around well; he moved around real well," Butler said yesterday, less than 24 hours after Timmons was the dominating star of a drill pitting linebackers against running backs in blitz pickup.

"He still did some technical things I'm not happy with, and we're going to get those corrected. But the great thing about him is, he's willing to be corrected, willing to be coached, and, if he's that, he'll get better."

Timmons is a different player from the one who reported to training camp last season as the 15th overall pick in the NFL and not just because he has added seven pounds of muscle and weighs 243 pounds.

He injured his groin the first week of camp, spent most of the preseason watching from the sideline and got little playing time behind James Harrison, Clark Haggans and even fellow rookie LaMarr Woodley at outside linebacker.

This year, he has been switched to inside linebacker -- a position he played at Florida State -- in a move that even Foote thought was designed to get Timmons on the field a lot quicker and possibly replace him as a starter. That wasn't going to happen at outside linebacker where Harrison, a Pro Bowl pick in his first season as a starter, and Woodley are the starters.

"The coaches haven't addressed it to me in that manner, I just perceive that and I just knew that, soon as they put him behind me," Foote said. "One good thing, the way I look at it, they didn't draft him originally to play behind me, so it wasn't like they weren't trying to replace me. They thought the best place for him is inside in our defense."

For now, Foote will be the starter and play alongside James Farrior in most of the basic 3-4 packages. Timmons has been getting time as one of the linebackers in the nickel and quarter substitution packages, where he can use his quickness, athleticism and -- after what he exhibited Friday night -- his explosiveness.

Timmons hit rookie tight end Dezmond Sherrod so hard that Sherrod, an undrafted free agent, injured his neck and did not practice yesterday.

"I'm not thinking about that," Timmons said. "We're just trying to work hard to get ready to have a winning season and get ready for these preseason games."

But, even Timmons conceded, "I'm more comfortable because of the reps and coach has coached me to do what I need to do. So, I feel real comfortable."

The Steelers began working Timmons at inside linebacker late in the 2007 season, getting him ready for the transition to his second year. He even picked up enough of his responsibilities that he was used as a replacement in the dime defense for injured safety Troy Polamalu against the Miami Dolphins -- an indication of Timmons' athletic ability.

Turns out, the biggest impact Timmons made that game was accidentally ending the season of Dolphins running back Ricky Williams in his first game after being reinstated by commissioner Roger Goodell. Timmons stepped on Williams' back and tore his right pectoral muscle while trying to recover a fumble.

"There's been a leap in terms of knowledge of the defense," Butler said. "And there are some things you just can't coach, of course. We see that. But he has a long way to go."

The road is not as far as it was last year, though.

"Doing and looking are two different things," Timmons said. "Having the offseason [to work at] inside linebacker made a difference, totally. My rookie season was about learning more than anything. You have to show them in shoulder pads."

Timmons is doing that, slowly but surely.

Camp isn't over yet but so far Foote is playing like his job depended on it and he's outdoing his young counterpart. Make no mistake about it though regardless of who gets the starting job come opening weekend ( and I'm not sure Tomlin is ready to end the competition at MLB just yet ) both of them will get significant playing time in 2008 and Timmons is the future there with Farriors' status up in the air after this season.

K Train
08-03-2008, 01:58 AM
hes gonna surprise alot of you who think hes a bust or a wasted pick....you know who you are

Troyisabeast_43
08-03-2008, 01:58 AM
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08216/901596-66.stm



Camp isn't over yet but so far Foote is playing like his job depended on it and he's outdoing his young counterpart. Make no mistake about it though regardless of who gets the starting job come opening weekend ( and I'm not sure Tomlin is ready to end the competition at MLB just yet ) both of them will get significant playing time in 2008 and Timmons is the future there with Farriors' status up in the air after this season.

I was out at camp last night for the night practice and Im telling you right now Lawrence Timmons looks like an absolute beast out there flying around hitting guys and making tackles. In my opinion after watching him he clearly looks like he is a better player right now then Larry Foote, and if carries over what he is doing at camp into the preseason games then I think there is a very very strong chance that Timmons will beat out Foote and be the starter come opening day. Regardless, both will see a lot of playing time along with guys like Woodley as well he looks like a stud at camp as well. This linebacking core of Timmons,Harrison,Woodley,and Farrior has a real good chance to do a lot of damage to opposing teams offenses this season.

steelcityrockers
08-03-2008, 11:10 AM
hes gonna surprise alot of you who think hes a bust or a wasted pick....you know who you are

I do laugh at those people. They think that after ONE injury filled rookie seaso that he sucks. He was actually one of our best Special Teams players last year.

BlackGold4vr
08-03-2008, 12:06 PM
If you are going to sell training camp as an "open audition" for all starting jobs you had better give the job to the player that wins the competition! If you hand a job to a veteran who clearly was outperformed you have just told everybody its politics as usual. Foote like Haggans has never been a stud. I am not down on Foote as he has been a very competent linebacker for us. But if Timmons is showing glimpses of greatness I am excited to see what he can do in our starting line-up! You have to give the job to the player who will help the defense the most!

:yellowthumb:

:towelwave::towelwave::towelwave:

Troyisabeast_43
08-03-2008, 07:47 PM
If you are going to sell training camp as an "open audition" for all starting jobs you had better give the job to the player that wins the competition! If you hand a job to a veteran who clearly was outperformed you have just told everybody its politics as usual. Foote like Haggans has never been a stud. I am not down on Foote as he has been a very competent linebacker for us. But if Timmons is showing glimpses of greatness I am excited to see what he can do in our starting line-up! You have to give the job to the player who will help the defense the most!

:yellowthumb:

:towelwave::towelwave::towelwave:

Hopefully Tomlin and his staff learn from what happened with Woodley late in the year when he finally took over for Haggans and got the starting job the last few weeks of the season and in the playoff game against the Jags where he played outstanding. If Timmons continues to play like the way I saw him in camp this week in the preseason games there will be absolutely no excuse for Tomlin to not make him the starting linebacker when the season starts.

A linebacking crew of Harrison,Woodley,and Timmons a long with James Farrior thrown in there as well can create a lot of havoc in the backfield and get can to the QB a lot more and create a lot more sacks then the Steelers ended up getting last season. Ill be very dissapointed if Timmons doesnt start over Foote. He was a number one draft choice and it appears the year of seasoning under his belt has made him a better player and he is poised to take over in the starting role.

BlitzburghRockCity
08-03-2008, 11:22 PM
Timmons looked good today, he was hitting the sleds hard and with power. Both he and Foote seem to be having a real good camp so it's going to be a tough choice. Foote is fighting and doing a great job like always but Timmons is a #1 pick and with that comes the responsibility of making your mark on the team. So far he seems to be doing well from what I heard and saw today but time will tell if he can take that job from Larry.

I was kinda disappointed though that Timmons blew off the fans after practice today without even a wave or smile and a "next time guys" or something but oh well.