View Full Version : Timmons' development paying dividends for Steelers

08-16-2008, 10:05 AM
By John Harris (jharris@tribweb.com)

Did somebody get the number of that truck?

Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons sped through an opening in the middle of the line so fast Thursday night that Buffalo quarterback Matt Baker didn't know who -- or what -- hit him.

Baker's pass fell short of intended receiver Justin Jenkins in the fourth quarter of the Steelers' 24-21 loss to the Bills. Probably had something to do with Timmons blowing up the play -- along with Baker.
It was the type of hit Timmons has been waiting to make since joining the Steelers as a first-round draft pick last season.
It's a hit Timmons can feel all the way down to his toes, while ensuring that his target plays the rest of the game with his head on a swivel.

But no more than the Steelers have been waiting for Timmons to deliver.
"Everybody's got to love that," said Timmons, speaking about having the opportunity to do what he does best on the football field -- seek and destroy. "I always try to get to the ball. I always try to make that a facet of my game."

For good measure, Timmons sacked another Bills quarterback, J.P. Losman, for an eight-yard loss. Timmons also defended a pair of screen passes about as well as you could ask from a young linebacker while also leading the Steelers with seven tackles.

"From last year to this year, it's been 180 degrees," linebacker James Harrison said of Timmons' development. "He's getting a little bit of what we call 'That dog.' He's starting to feel himself, and that comes from knowing what you're doing."

Harrison took Timmons under his wing as the two worked out together in the offseason. Upon getting to know each other better, Timmons loosened up and starting speaking his mind.
"He asks a lot more questions now than he did last year. He was quiet last year," Harrison said.

Said Timmons: "Having a year under your shoulder pads, that's a great advantage. This is a complex defense. It's different when you're running and you don't know what to do like a chicken with its head off. When you know what you can do and you're comfortable, you can play faster because you know where to be."

In one of the great upsets of the Steelers preseason, Timmons spoke expansively to reporters following the loss in Toronto. In Timmons' case, his "soliloquy" translated to offering more than one-word sound bites.
After drawing oohs and aahs from fans for his big hits, he stood tall in front of his locker and answered questions without a frown.

The soft-spoken and normally reclusive Timmons treated interviews last season like he was undergoing a root canal.

He also battled a nagging groin injury that limited his playing time. Finally healthy, he's showing off his expansive playmaking skills.
Timmons respects his elders, such as Harrison, James Farrior and Larry Foote, his main competition at right inside linebacker. After Thursday's game, coach Mike Tomlin said no decision has been made on who will start.

At the same time, Timmons' play of late is going to make it difficult for Tomlin to keep him out of the starting lineup much longer.
Truth be told that Timmins never had a clue last year.....

I'm just glad that he admitily agreed that he has learn more this past offseason to be able to come in and compete.

What's nice is the thought that he will still have time to prep for a future starting position and he will be a beast when that time comes.....:yellowthumb:

08-16-2008, 10:58 AM
good article

08-16-2008, 11:39 AM
This is really what the Doctor ordered....With the development of Woodley late last year and Timmons finally splashing into the mix, it couldn't come at a better time..this defense needs a boost something fierce, you can never have enough playmakers on the field. Let's hope we see a dominant D this saturday.:crossfingers:

08-16-2008, 11:44 AM
Tomlin knew our LB corp was getting old and there was no depth to speak of behind the starters so bringing in Wood & Timmons and now Davis this year is going to really start paying off for us and keep the Steeler linebacking tradition in tact and moving forward. This current group right now could start to bring back visions of the vaunted BLITZBURGH linebacking group that was just downright wicked.

JB 67
08-16-2008, 11:46 AM
Ditto we need that swagger back The Porter boot Who Ride We Ride!!!!!!!

K Train
08-16-2008, 09:01 PM
lol its funny how after he blows up 2 plays in a preseason game alot of you who were claiming bust are now claiming beast lol

08-16-2008, 09:25 PM
lol its funny how after he blows up 2 plays in a preseason game alot of you who were claiming bust are now claiming beast lol

Don't remember anyone referring to him as a bust??, But alot of people had a big question mark next to his name, and rightly so.He was quiet as a church mouse last year..and it didn't help Lamarr out there making plays when Timmons wasn't.I think overall the fans have been patient with him..and now he's starting to shine.

K Train
08-16-2008, 09:31 PM
5-11-2008 at 7:40 am

we sure know how to pick them.....:scratch:
I never knew that Timmons had a Hernia. Hopefully he can prove this year that he's worth being a 1st round pick and not a complete bust.

08-16-2008, 10:29 PM
Nobody should have proclaimed him a bust and if they did they weren't giving him a chance. He was injured and yeah it pissed a lot of people off because he lost a year of learning and contributing. Im glad to see him playing better; he's been really working at it all offseason and so far in camp and preseason he's playing well. There's nobody in their right mind that would anoint him as the 2nd coming of Jack Lambert just yet but atleast he's on his way to finally or atleast hopefully beginning to contribute.

08-18-2008, 06:26 AM

08-19-2008, 02:57 AM
Link to story... (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08232/905365-66.stm?cmpid=steelers.xml)

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.

Gerry Dulac can be reached at gdulac@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1466.
First published on August 19, 2008 at 12:00 am

08-19-2008, 12:40 PM
I see a lot of "dee-cleaters" in his future. If he stays on the field our tackling problems will decrease exponentially.