Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – ILB Lawrence Timmons

By Matthew Marczi

End-of-season player exit meetings are not something that we are often privy to as outsiders of the football world. Generally, we only get a glimpse into that world when a player is asked by a reporter how the meeting went, if the player is willing to discuss it.

Still, it’s not generally a hard concept to grasp, and we have a pretty good feel by now of how Mike Tomlin and his staff likes to operate, and we see all the game film, so it’s not an overly difficult project to simulate. If we were to administer the end-of-season player exit meetings, it might go something like this.

Player: Lawrence Timmons

Position: Inside Linebacker

Experience: 7 Years

The 2013 season was not Lawrence Timmons at his best, but it was certainly far from his worst, and he also has a few built-in excuses as well, due to the changes and turmoil that surrounded him on the field.

For starters, the Pittsburgh Steelers spent the offseason parting ways with two of their best run defenders: nose tackle Casey Hampton and outside linebacker James Harrison. Those two losses should not be understated.

While I have by no means been critical of first-year-starter Steve McLendon’s performance spearheading the defensive line, it’s hard to deny that the more svelte nose tackle does not command the same double teams—which free players like Timmons to make plays—the way Hampton did.

Meanwhile, Harrison was arguably the best 3-4 outside linebacker against the run of the past decade or so. His position was initially replaced with a platoon of Jason Worilds, whose experience primarily comes from the left side, where he is more comfortable, and rookie Jarvis Jones.

To make Timmons’ job even more difficult, he lost his running mate, Larry Foote, in the opening game of the season, and was forced to pair with Kion Wilson and Vince Williams, two players that were not on the team in 2012.

That loss reshaped the way the Steelers played defense in 2013. For one, it put more responsibility on Timmons, including play-calling responsibility on occasion. More globally, it resulted in the Steelers playing far more sub-package football than they likely intended or wanted to, taking both a lineman and a linebacker off the field in favor of two defensive backs.

Timmons often found himself with nobody next to him, almost like a middle linebacker, which can disrupt keys and angles. I believe this took some time for Timmons to adjust to.

As the season progressed, he found himself paired more and more often with Troy Polamalu, playing a quasi-linebacker role. Polamalu is not a linebacker, and sometimes is not sufficiently able to emulate what a linebacker would do.

In short, Timmons spent much of the season trying to compensate for the rest of the defense and all the changes going on around him. And he often did. He still made plenty of impressive plays that only his superior athleticism allows him to do. I’ve broken him down in several individual games this past season, isolating both highs and lows.

It wasn’t the statistics at issue, either. He had 126 tackles, three sacks, two interceptions, and a forced fumble. Statistically, that’s a good season. And he did have a ‘good’ season. But the Steelers need him to have a great season in order for the defense to function at a high level again.

Previous Articles In This Series
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – QB Ben Roethlisberger
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Antonio Brown
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – WR Emmanuel Sanders
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – TE Heath Miller
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Marcus Gilbert
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G David DeCastro
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – G Ramon Foster
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – T Kelvin Beachum
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – RB Le’Veon Bell
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – C Fernando Velasco
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – FB Will Johnson
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Brett Keisel
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – NT Steve McLendon
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – DE Cameron Heyward
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB LaMarr Woodley
Steelers End Of Season Player Exit Meetings – OLB Jason Worilds

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • treeher

    This is sort of an odd analysis. You spend much of the time detailing the obstacles Tim had to face and then credit him with a “good” season. I’d say he might have played his best season and should have been an All Pro.

  • Chad H

    Steelers “Best” linebacker right now.

  • Milliken Steeler

    Based on what? he struggled at times especially missing tackles etc. It wasn’t a bad season as he came on but all pro? Based on what?

  • steeltown

    He had a damn fine season when considering the injuries and subpar play from some of his teammates

  • treeher

    OK, so maybe I got over-enthused about the all pro thing, but my comment is still valid. I think he had an excellent season, especially considering the injuries and poor play that surrounded him.

  • Jefferson_St_Joe

    He’s a very good player who is paid to be a great player. Every year I think he is going to step forward and be a consistent and dynamic playmaker, but he just doesn’t quite get there. Hopefully, it happens this year.

  • ATL96STEELER

    There are some fans that would like to take Mosley in this draft…I’m okay with the pick, but I wouldn’t call his name on draft day…I think the ILB position needs depth more than another playmaker. Timmons had a pretty good year, but it’s hard to find a true gem on the DEF this yr aside from maybe Heyward.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    It was a tough season for Timmons as well as Clark as both guys were trying to compensate for the injuries on the team.

  • ergomesh

    didn’t he also break his hand and still play?

  • PA2AK

    I’m with you….and I couldn’t care less of whether or not he was ‘honored’ with pro-bowl or all-pro status. He was HUGE for the Steelers defense this year for all the reasons outlined above and more. Add the fact that he was playing with that broken hand (who knows how much pain and how long and nagging it was) and didn’t really miss a beat. He looked to get better as the season progressed in spite of it all. I was really impressed with his season considering everything that went on.

  • PA2AK

    Re: contract figures…that’s more of a comment on the FO than Timmons if you get what I’m saying.

    I do however think he was pretty consistent and dynamic for us this year. It was overshadowed a bit by some injuries/rookie play and his own broken hand. I was impressed by the man this year…and I’ve been critical of his inability to ‘take a step forward’ in the past as well. I’m fairly sure we aren’t going to see him grab a Defensive MVP award in his career, but if he puts in the work like he did this year for even a few more years to come…i’ll be more than OK with that.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    Bottom line: He is an excellent and essential piece of the puzzle for the Steelers D. When the Front 7 is dominant, the Steelers D is great. Hopefully, they will get back there soon.

  • Shawn Winbush

    I think Timmons had a great year,actually the past 3 years he’s been the heart and soul of the defense.He has asked to compensate for losses to Foote,Woodley,Worilds AND Harrison.He’s played every LB position, and even platooned with rookies and a SS trying to play LB.I believe if you put a 3-down LB like Mosley around him,he can be the dynamic LB everyone here desires.Timmons is a gifted athlete,who has shown to be very disruptive defensively when given the opportunity. The best is still yet to come,he is in his prime years now.

  • Chad H

    Exactly, most under rated ILB in the NFL. Not sure why he is over looked every year.

  • Jeff

    It’s hard to believe that Timmons has 7 years of experience.