If you watch enough of the Pittsburgh Steelers then you know that inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is a darn good football player. You also know that he becomes an exceptional football player when he is allowed to attack the ball carrier.
Timmons is not nearly as effective when he is forced to read and react. I often think back to his performance against Washington last year at home. Timmons almost single-handedly blew up the running attack of the Skins by attacking the line of scrimmage.
With Larry Foote now on the injured reserve list, Timmons will be forced to not only up his play but he’ll also become a tutor for Foote’s replacement Kion Wilson.
Because Foote was the ‘quarterback of the defense’ that falls on Timmons now. He will take over wearing the special helmet so he can get the play from coordinator Dick LeBeau.
Foote’s job as the ‘buck’ linebacker was to be on the strength side of the formation. While Foote was never going to go to a Pro Bowl, his ability to occupy guards and tackles often let Timmons run free and make big plays for little or no gain.
The question is, can Timmons survive without Foote? He doesn’t have a choice in my opinion. He knows that LeBeau and linebackers coach Keith Butler will expect even more from him in Foote’s absence. Timmons will still be expected to make plays and there can’t be any excuses.
Timmons has never been one to make them anyway.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 4pm ET talking Steelers.