2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Timmons breaks mold of Pittsburgh's linebackers

By CHRIS ADAMSKI - Associated Press
    2012-11-15 17:31

PITTSBURGH (AP) - James Harrison rarely holds back when it comes to controversial comments.

Larry Foote's a congenial chatterbox on and off the field.

And among great Pittsburgh Steelers linebackers of the recent past, Joey Porter was known for his trash talking and James Farrior for his vocal leadership.

Something about the position, maybe.

Then, of course, there's Lawrence Timmons, arguably the best linebacker for the best statistical defense in the NFL. Timmons hardly fits the mold of a loud and rambunctious Steelers linebacker - past or present.

But he's just as productive, if not more. And he will be in focus when his Steelers (6-3) face the Baltimore Ravens (7-2) in an AFC North showdown Sunday night.

``Man, if Lawrence says more than two words to you, I guess you're his friend,'' Steelers nose tackle Casey Hampton quipped. ``I might not be his friend. I don't think he's said more than two words to me since he's been here.''

Quiet and mild-mannered in the Steelers' locker room, Timmons maintains a steely focus when he's in the heat of battle. And the Steelers will need that this week.

The freakishly athletic former first-round pick is in his fourth season as a starter, but he's still the junior member of a veteran Pittsburgh corps. With Harrison and Foote in their 30s and LaMarr Woodley shaking off nagging hamstring injuries, Timmons has been the Steelers' most consistent playmaker at linebacker.

His interception of Matt Cassel and 23-yard return inside the Kansas City 10-yard line set up the winning field goal early in overtime of a 16-13 victory over the Chiefs Monday.

``He told me that he was one of the top offensive prospects coming out of high school, and I used to deny that,'' Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. ``But after that run he made Monday night, I think he's got a point.''

The 75-year-old LeBeau chuckled. But he wasn't joking a few moments later when he said, ``I think Lawrence has been playing at a Pro Bowl level for several years now.''

Timmons has yet to be selected for a Pro Bowl. LeBeau said that's because he's been overshadowed on his own team by the likes of Harrison, Woodley and Farrior, who have seven berths between them.

In the Steelers' 3-4 scheme, it's the outside linebackers who rack up the sacks. Timmons has played there at times for Pittsburgh, but he's settling into his inside spot next to Foote. That hasn't taken away, though, from the versatility that might be his greatest asset.

``I feel like I can fill in anywhere to help the defense,'' Timmons said. ``I love getting put in the game plans and I like being in spaces where I can make plays. That means a lot to me.

``(LeBeau) has set up things for me to roam around, play in space - which I love doing - and also blitz the passer. It's fun.''

A chiseled 6-1, 234 pounds, Timmons is big enough to be an effective tackler but fast enough to be a strong safety. That's exactly how LeBeau sees it. When Foote calls Timmons ``the Troy Polamalu of the front seven,'' it's because of his polite and soft-spoken ways. LeBeau actually uses Timmons as the Polamalu of the front seven.

Particularly with Polamalu out with a calf injury for much of this season, Timmons has increasingly been playing in centerfield on passing downs.

``Each year, he's just been getting better and better - and lately he's started to be a big-time playmaker for us,'' Foote said. ``The sky's the limit for Lawrence.''

That's a familiar offseason refrain in Pittsburgh about Timmons, who has shown some flashes of brilliance but hasn't been the consistently dominant player that the 2007 No. 15 overall draft pick should be. In the past 12 years, franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is the only player the Steelers have drafted with an earlier pick than No. 15.

It seems as if every summer, Timmons is the popular choice as Pittsburgh's ``breakout'' player. That talk was amplified when he signed a six-year, $50 million contract extension in August of 2011.

But now, he seems to be living up to it.

``I'm always trying to be real hard on myself,'' Timmons said. ``I hate to make mistakes so I'm always concentrating and I try to be real focused. I'm always trying to be the best.''

On the field, there's no question. Competing in a locker room game of shuffleboard of table tennis, Timmons' intensely competitive nature shines through, as well.

But when he's not competing, the ``good ol' quiet Southern boy,'' as Foote puts it, comes out. Early in his career, a common sight in the bustling and crowded pre-practice locker room was Timmons flat on his back, a jersey over his face for an early-afternoon cat nap.

``I guess that's him resting up,'' said Hampton, ``because on the field, he's anything but quiet. He don't say a lot, but he speaks with his pads and his play - playing hard, playing physical.

``He can keep on being quiet, saving all his energy, as long as he keeps making plays for us.''

---

NOTES: LB Chris Carter was placed on injured reserve because of an abdominal injury. The team promoted LB Marshall McFadden from the practice squad to take his roster spot and added TE Jamie McCoy to the practice squad. ... RB Rashard Mendenhall practiced fully for the second consecutive day and aims to play Sunday for the first time in more than a month because an Achilles injury.

---

Online: http://bigstory.ap.org/NFL-Pro32 and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Sammy WatkinsSep 21 08:32p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins (ribs) was able to play in Week 3 against the San Diego Chargers, but he was limited to just two receptions and 19 yards. He was targeted eight times.

Tre BostonSep 21 07:52p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Andrew Norwell, OT David Foucault, RB DeAngelo Williams, RB Fozzy Whittaker, WR Jerricho Cotchery, QB Joe Webb, SS Tre Boston inactive for Week 3.

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 21 07:42p

The Carolina Panthers have declared OG Andrew Norwell, RB DeAngelo Williams, OT Garry Williams, DL Greg Hardy, LB Jason Williams, QB Joe Webb, SS Tre Boston inactive for Week 3.

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 21 07:42p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh) is inactive for the Week 3 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

B.W. WebbSep 21 07:42p

The Pittsburgh Steelers have declared CB B.W. Webb, DT Daniel McCullers, RB Dri Archer, QB Landry Jones, WR Martavis Bryant, OG Ramon Foster, OG Wesley Johnson inactive for Week 3.

L. TaliaferroSep 21 07:23p

Baltimore Ravens RB Lorenzo Taliaferro carried a game-high 18 times for 91 yards and a touchdown in Week 3 against the Cleveland Browns. He was subbing for the injured RB Bernard Pierce (thigh).

Chris WilliamsSep 21 07:12p

Updating a previous report, Buffalo Bills WR Marcus Easley (knee), SS Da'Norris Searcy (ankle) and OG Chris Williams (back) were each unable to return after leaving the Week 3 [ More ]

Nick NovakSep 21 07:12p

San Diego Chargers PK Nick Novak made a pair of field goals and he had two extra points in the Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills. He has [ More ]

Danny WoodheadSep 21 06:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Danny Woodhead (ankle, leg) suffered a severe high ankle sprain and fractured fibula in the Week 3 game against the Buffalo Bills. A source said [ More ]

Dennis PittaSep 21 06:42p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) suffered a dislocated hip in the Week 3 game against the Cleveland Browns. He will have tests Monday, Sept. 22, to check for a possible fracture.

T Y HiltonSep 21 06:42p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (ankle) left the Week 3 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars due to an ankle injury. Head coach Chuck Pagano said Sunday, Sept. 21, that [ More ]

Jake LockerSep 21 06:23p

Tennessee Titans QB Jake Locker remains the starting quarterback, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Sunday, Sept. 21, that he never considered benching Locker despite a lopsided loss in [ More ]

Matt CasselSep 21 05:52p

Minnesota Vikings QB Matt Cassel (foot) has several fractured bones in his foot, head coach Mike Zimmer said Sunday, Sept. 21, after the Week 3 game against the New Orleans Saints.

Blake BortlesSep 21 05:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said Sunday, Sept. 21, that QB Blake Bortles will start in Week 4 against the San Diego Chargers.

Russell OkungSep 21 05:52p

Seattle Seahawks OT Russell Okung (chest) left the Week 3 game against the Denver Broncos in the second quarter and he was immediately taken to the locker room due to an apparent chest injury.

Teddy BridgewaterSep 21 05:52p

Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater will take over as the team's starting quarterback in Week 4 after QB Matt Cassel (foot) suffered fractured bones in his foot in Week [ More ]

Donald BrownSep 21 05:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown had a career-high 36 touches in the Week 3 win against the Buffalo Bills. He ran 31 times for 62 yards, and had five catches for 27 yards.

Kyle RudolphSep 21 05:12p

Updating a previous report, Minnesota Vikings TE Kyle Rudolph (groin) will have an MRI on his right groin Monday, Sept. 22. 'Something popped. I've been battling it for a [ More ]

Jerick McKinnonSep 21 05:12p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (ankle, foot) left the Week 3 game against the New Orleans Saints due to a right ankle or foot injury. He had his right [ More ]

DeAngelo HallSep 21 05:12p

Washington Redskins CB DeAngelo Hall (Achilles') said after the Week 3 game against the Philadelphia Eagles that he fears he suffered a torn Achilles'. Head coach Jay Gruden said [ More ]

Jason HatcherSep 21 05:12p

Washington Redskins DE Jason Hatcher (hamstring) left the Week 3 game against the Philadelphia Eagles due to a hamstring injury. He said Sunday, Sept. 21, that he came out [ More ]

Brandon FuscoSep 21 04:02p

Minnesota Vikings OG Brandon Fusco (shoulder) suffered a shoulder injury during the team's Week 3 game, while CB Josh Robinson (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury.

Marcus EasleySep 21 03:32p

Buffalo Bills WR Marcus Easley (knee) and SS Da'Norris Searcy (ankle) suffered injuries during the team's Week 3 game and are considered questionable to return.

Greg ScruggsSep 21 03:22p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared OT Garry Gilliam, LB Bruce Irvin, OT Andrew McDonald, RB Christine Michael, WR Kevin Norwood, DE Greg Scruggs, CB Tharold Simon inactive for Week 3.

Jamaal CharlesSep 21 03:12p

The Kansas City Chiefs have declared SS Eric Berry, RB Jamaal Charles, OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, QB Aaron Murray, DE Damion Square, RB De'Anthony Thomas, WR Albert Wilson inactive for Week 3.

Carson PalmerSep 21 03:12p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 3 game.

Tony CarterSep 21 03:12p

The Denver Broncos have declared CB Tony Carter, OG Ben Garland, WR Cody Latimer, LB Lerentee McCray, OT Michael Schofield, LB Danny Trevathan, DT Mitch Unrein inactive for Week 3.

Jamaal CharlesSep 21 03:11p

Charles is out for the Week 3 game.

Mike PounceySep 21 03:02p

The Miami Dolphins have declared DE Terrence Fede, LB Koa Misi, RB Knowshon Moreno, C Mike Pouncey, OG Shelley Smith, LB Jordan Tripp and OT Billy Turner inactive for Week 3.

Vernon DavisSep 21 02:52p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis (ankle, knee) has been declared inactive for Week 3.

Vernon DavisSep 21 02:52p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared CB Tramaine Brock, DE Cornellius Carradine, OT Anthony Davis, TE Vernon Davis, C Marcus Martin, TE Vance McDonald, WR Quinton Patton inactive for Week 3.

Chad HenneSep 21 02:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles entered the team's Week 3 game in the second half after QB Chad Henne was benched.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group