A few weeks ago I stated that Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons was perhaps one of the biggest snubs on the Top 100 Players of 2013 show that was put together by the NFL Network and the former first-round draft pick recently told Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that he sees himself as a key playmaker on the Steelers defense as he heads into his seventh season.
“I look at myself as a game-changer, and I try to make that a facet of my game,” Timmons said. “I look forward to those opportunities, because I want to live up to those expectations.”
Timmons had a solid 2012 season that included him registering 106 solo tackles, three interceptions and six sacks and his overtime interception against Kansas City Chiefs in Week 10 single-handedly won the game.
The 27-year-old linebacker took a lot of heat for his play in 2011, but many forget that he was forced to play out of position for four of those games due to right outside linebacker James Harrison being sidelined by injury. Timmons is not an outside linebacker, and it severely hurt the defense by having him play out of position.
While many will try to pin the loss to Oakland Raiders last season on Timmons because of the completion that he allowed to tight end Brandon Myers on third down late in the game, it was quite simply a great throw and catch. Outside of that one play Timmons was still the Steelers best defensive player on the field that day that included him registering four stops.
While many just are now realizing that Timmons is a big-time player on defense, in 2010, he was ranked the top inside linebacker by both Pro Football Focus and Advanced NFL Stats. It\’s funny how that is all forgotten because of his 2011 season.
Timmons doesn\’t have to improve in 2013; he just needs to continue playing at the same level that he did last season. He indeed is a game-changer, just as he stated in his interview, and I expect more of that this upcoming season.
While the Steelers certainly have question marks concerning outside linebackers Jason Worilds and LaMarr Woodley this year, Timmons is anything but a question mark. He is hitting the prime of his career right now and the only thing that can slow him down in 2013 is injuries or being forced to play out of position once again.