Timmons ready to step outside
Dick LeBeau has been around long enough to know that moving from inside to outside linebacker in his 3-4 zone-blitzing scheme will be a "significant adjustment" for Lawrence Timmons.
Timmons isn't about to disagree with the significance of the move for Sunday's game against Tennessee at Heinz Field, but he isn't buying the adjustment part.
"It is easier for me because I've done it before," Timmons said.
With James Harrison out several weeks with a broken orbital bone that required surgery, the Steelers will shift their leading tackler from a year ago from inside linebacker to outside, which he played regularly in college.
"He has true game experience outside," LeBeau said. "He has played outside linebacker in the National Football League and just not a snap or two. We feel good about the experience factor there."
The Steelers envisioned Timmons as an outside linebacker and the heir to Joey Porter when they drafted him in the first round in 2007 out of Florida State.
That plan was scrapped when Harrison emerged as a defensive-player-of-the-year-caliber outside linebacker and LaMarr Woodley, the second-round pick in 2007, asserted himself as franchise-type player by his second season.
Timmons had nowhere to go but inside with a contingency plan of moving him outside if needed. That contingency plan goes into effect Sunday against the surprising Titans (3-1).
"He'll be fine," safety Ryan Clark said. "That was his original position, a position he was really drafted to play until James Harrison became James Harrison."
In his first year as a starter last season, Timmons led the team in tackles, and had three sacks and two interceptions. He signed a five-year, $50 million contract in August.
"I know you can't replace Harrison, but there isn't any drop-off with Timmons," inside linebacker James Farrior said.
Timmons started twice at outside linebacker in 2008, once for Woodley and once for Harrison.
|Outside the box|
|Lawrence Timmons will play outside linebacker Sunday against the Tennessee Titans, filling in for the injured James Harrison. Here are Timmons' career statistics at outside and inside linebacker:|
He had six tackles in replacing Woodley against the Indianapolis Colts and 12 more in the regular-season finale against Cleveland. However, the most telling play of his ability at the position came when he intercepted New England's Matt Cassel while covering a running back in the flat and returned it 89 yards late in a November 2008 game.
"I'm pretty comfortable with this because I've been playing the whole week at outside, and me and the coaches have been sprucing up the little things that I haven't seen in a while," Timmons said.
The Steelers defense could use a spark. Despite being second in overall yardage, the Steelers already have allowed two 100-yard rushers, are 22nd in the league in stopping the run, have created only one turnover and are on pace for their fewest sacks since 1988.
The Titans are sure to test Timmons, who will spend most of the game lining up against one of the top tackle in the league in Michael Roos.
"I'll be fine," Timmons said. "It's all football. If I do my assignment, I'll be fine."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers quarterback Vick getting more acquainted with offense
- Steelers hoping to establish run early against San Diego
- Steelers notebook: Safety Mitchell shrugs off Ravens WR’s comments
- Steelers QB Roethlisberger not targeting Oct. 25 return
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin not worried about Jones’ lack of sacks
- New-look Steelers secondary is gaining some cohesion
- Steelers notebook: Running back Bell OK with play-calling against Ravens
- Four downs: Williams brothers on the rise
- Steelers’ Bryant returns from drug suspension, ‘won’t happen again’
- Steelers notebook: Shazier practices, hopes to play Monday at Chargers