Yes, he’s getting older. Yes, his contract is going to have to be reworked. But Lawrence Timmons is still playing at his consistent, reliable level Pittsburgh Steelers‘ fans should be used to by now.
I’m not even talking about what he’s done with the snaps he’s played this year, though I’d point out he’s been better than a lot of people are willing to credit him for. But it’s the sheer volume of snaps that amazes me the most.
Timmons has played 100% of the Steelers’ defensive snaps in 2015. Every. Single. One. He is the only defensive player in the NFL to do so, according to the snap count trackers over at Football Outsiders. The list has slowly whittled away during the season, leaving Timmons as the frontrunner.
Breaking it down further to just linebackers, the majority of the percentage leaders are the young whippersnappers. Jacksonville’s Telvin Smith, Tampa Bay’s Lavonte David, and Baltimore’s C.J. Mosley all make up the top eight. Timmons, turning 30 in May, is one of the old men. Only three other linebackers Timmons’ age or older have played even at least 95%: Karlos Dansby, Derrick Johnson, and David Harris.
Timmons is an every-down, every-situation, every-assignment type of linebacker. On a defense where there has been a lot to worry about, especially coming off Russell Wilson’s historic day against this Steelers’ defense, Timmons has been that steady constant for 2015 and almost every year he’s been in the league.
There is a lot of understandable speculation about who will become his heir apparent and the need to keep Sean Spence or Vince Williams. It’s natural to think about that and yes, there will be a point in the not to distant future where that will become a pressing question. But I’m just enjoying the expected consistency that Timmons is giving the team in the present. Because it’s something no other defender in the NFL can claim.