Article

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

Comments
To Top