Linebackers coach Keith Butler is keeping Timmons as an option for outside linebacker if Harrison isn't ready to go in week 1 vs the Broncos.
Timmons is a beast on the inside but I hate seeing him on the outside because it just disrupts 2 positions then instead of one. He's not a bad pass rusher either but when you change positions every week and even in mid game you lose some effectiveness. He was poised to have a breakout year last year but spent so much time flip flopping positions that his effectiveness wasn't nearly as dramatic as it could be.
We can be glad we have him on the roster to fill in but let's face it, the rass rush was just not good last year. Woodley had the nice month of October and Harrison did all he could in the last half of the season when Woodley was out but when you are missing one and there's no real backup to speak of, we aren't the same defense in getting after the Quarterback.
I think Butler and Lebeau have got to find a way to keep him on the inside and if Harrison isn't ready then go with Carter and see how he does. Andre Robinson won't be ready to start but in time he could turn into something special.
If Worilds doesn't get off the PUP list within the next week or two then we might have to have music chairs at linebacker again to start the season. Missing all the workouts this offseason and now camp doesn't exactly inspire confidence in his ability to have a big year.
"I don't know if you can replace James Harrison," Butler said. "I don't know if you can do that. Right now, we're short until either Jason or James gets back. Chris has done a great job. He's improved quite a bit. I think he'll be ready to play. I don't know if he'll be ready to play a full game, so that's a concern."
Adding more layers of drama to the situation at outside linebacker is the venue in which the Steelers open the regular season. Not only do they not know if Carter can play a full game under normal conditions, they must play in the high altitude in Denver.
"We might just sub a little bit more," said Butler, a former linebacker who played a decade for the Seattle Seahawks. "That first game is going to be tough, it's going to be in Denver, it's going to be at Mile High. People say there's nothing to the thin air out there but that's [nonsense]; I played there for 10 years so I know what it is. Denver was in our division when I played and there's some acclimation involved, especially in the first half.
"So we have to have more than one team ready to go out there with our outside guys. I'm still looking to see who that guy is."
Butler noted that there still is plenty of time for things to work out, that Harrison and Worilds could be ready to go to start the season. He's working on contingencies, just in case.
"I prefer not to put Lawrence back outside," Butler said. "But that's always a possibility. What we want to do is put our best people on the field regardless who they are. It's my job to try to make sure they're prepared for any contingency we might have."