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espn on Steelers LBs

Postby thesteelhammer » Sat Aug 16, 2008 10:33 pm

First Sentence says it all.

http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=3538884

LATROBE, Pa. -- Even when talented players leave, the Pittsburgh Steelers always seem to be stocked with quality linebackers.

After three Pro Bowl appearances, Joey Porter was cut two years ago, and starter Clark Haggans left as a free agent after last season.

Pittsburgh spent its top two picks in last year's draft on linebackers -- Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley were Mike Tomlin's first selections as coach -- and then drafted two more linebackers this year in third-rounder Bruce Davis and sixth-rounder Mike Humpal.

That has created a logjam at the position with veterans Larry Foote, James Farrior and James Harrison returning as starters.

"I think that's awesome," Tomlin said. "We've got a good group of guys working there. We've got some tough decisions to make at that position, not only in terms of who makes the team but in how we sort it out. Those are good problems to have."

For a franchise that boasted Hall of Famers Jack Lambert and Jack Ham in the 1970s and prides itself on defense, linebacker remained the glamour position.

Eleven different Pittsburgh linebackers have made the Pro Bowl since Bill Cowher took over as coach in 1992, making 20 different trips to the game in those 16 seasons.

"We know we have to uphold the tradition around here of all these great linebackers that have come through here," Farrior said. "We've got to hold up our end of the bargain."

This season Woodley and Timmons are featured. Woodley is taking over at left outside linebacker for Haggans, and Timmons is pushing Foote at right inside linebacker.

"I think, athletically, they have a chance to be good Steeler linebackers," defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. "We like what we have seen from those young men."

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Re: espn on Steelers LBs

Postby Nel » Sun Aug 17, 2008 1:12 pm

My money is on Timmons as starter by Game 3.

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http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... rss&feed=3

"Timmons' development paying dividends for Steelers

By John Harris
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, August 16, 2008

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.

John Harris is a sports writer for the Tribune-Review. He can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432."

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Re: espn on Steelers LBs

Postby SteelCityFan » Sun Aug 17, 2008 2:34 pm

I'd love to see Timmons take over for Foote and ILB. I think there is a lot more big play potential with Timmons covering screens and getting after the quarterback than with Foote. Foote does just enough to get by, Timmons can be a difference maker. Also, do you think Tomlin feels any pressure from the organization to start Timmons since he used a first round pick on him last year?

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Re: espn on Steelers LBs

Postby steelerette » Sun Aug 17, 2008 11:01 pm

I would really like to see Timmons as a starter, but I don't think it's going to happen. :( I hope I'm wrong.

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Re: espn on Steelers LBs

Postby Steelersbaby » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:13 am

I bet that by midseason Timmons is starting, hope it doesn't take that long but either way he should see alot more time than last year.

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Re: espn on Steelers LBs

Postby Nel » Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:50 pm

Steelersbaby wrote:I bet that by midseason Timmons is starting, hope it doesn't take that long but either way he should see alot more time than last year.


It depends on wins, I think. If the Steelers lose 2 out of the first 3 games, we may see Timmons inserted into the starting lineup.

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Re: espn on Steelers LBs

Postby WoodsonOfSteel » Wed Aug 20, 2008 1:16 am

I am really getting excited about this guy. With him healthy, he looks like a beast in the making. There have been posts on this site about concerns about the guy, not performing, not showing anything special in the pre-season...

Whatever the case may be, he's certainly impressing me one play at a time. Thus far, he has showed me that he is very quick to react to the ball and has great closing speed for his size. He's shown that he can get to the QB with reckless abandon. (Granted, that was a blitz that went unblocked but it was still as sweet sack. ;^) )

Right now, I'm liking what he's contributing to the defense.

Lil by lil his skills will be refined and he'll become another raw pass rusher developed into a fine-tuned machine.


I posted that under another thread although I felt it applied here more-so than there...

I am pretty confident we will see a Woodley/Farrior/Timmons/Harrison starting four before the middle of the season if not to start the season. That may be a stretch of a thought but stranger things have happened. I wouldn't be opposed to coach making that 'gamble' if you want to call it that. I'd start 'em just for rip-a-mudda's-head-off potential.

Woodley + Farrior + Timmons + Harrison = :sucrutches:

It's basic math, people! :subngtowl:

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Re: espn on Steelers LBs

Postby Iron Gut » Wed Aug 20, 2008 10:34 am

I agree that the LB group should include Timmons as a starter. The only weakness I see in his game is that he does have problems shedding blocks from linemen reaching the second level. That said, Foote has the same problem and does not have the athleticism of Timmons which to me is the deciding factor. All things being equal, take the guy who can potentially make the great play.
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