During the 2011 season, Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons was forced to start four games at right outside linebacker due to then-starter James Harrison being sidelined with a fractured orbital bone. Those four games didn’t go well for the former first-round draft pick and he hasn’t been asked to start outside since and likely never will be again.
“That’s over,” Timmons said recently, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I’m strictly an inside guy.”
This year, Timmons is on the move inside, however, as he’s now playing the buck spot that was manned previously by Larry Foote now that first-round draft pick Ryan Shazier is expected to play the mack position on the weak side.
Timmons talked about making the move.
“It was an adjustment,” Timmons said. “The mack is similar, it’s just that I’m taking on the inside more, instead of me being the mac on the outside. I hit the O-linemen a whole lot more; I’m in the box more.”
Last season when Foote went down with a biceps injury in the season opener, Timmons stayed at the mack position but took over the responsibility of calling the defensive signals. That won’t change this year and last week linebackers coach Keith Butler talked about that during an interview with David Todd of ESPN 970 Radio.
“He did that last year,” said Butler of Timmons. “When Larry Foote got hurt, it hurt us because Lawrence had never done that and he took the responsibility well. And from the mack position he made the defensive calls and tried to set the front and all of that stuff.
“We’re going to do that again this year with him from the buck position. We moved him to the buck position because we felt like it was the best position for him and what he had on the team. He’s still calling signals and setting the front, but the mack is helping him. So when he’s got his back turned to the offense, the mack can help him run the defense.”
Timmons has been an iron man of sorts for the Steelers over the course of his entire career in Pittsburgh. In fact, not only has played in every game over the course of the last four seasons, he’s only missed 115 snaps during that span of time and just two snaps in the last two seasons.
Now that he’s a full-time buck, Timmons doesn’t seem to be phased by him potentially having to take on offensive linemen more often.
“I have O-linemen confrontations all the time,” he told Bouchette. “It comes with the job.”