Timmons’ Reliability Overlooked In 2015

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.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • kdubs412

    It’s very impressive to see Timmons playing every snap at this point in his career. But has that been beneficial to the team? I’d argue it hasn’t. Tomlin’s refusal to give older guys like Timmons and Deangelo any snaps off is really bizarre to me, especially when there are other decent options at those positions for at least a couple of plays (Vince Williams, Todman). Especially considering Timmons has been recovering from a preseason injury all year and is a liability in coverage.

  • PittsburghSports

    I agree. His athleticism is just not what it was, and he’s never been very cerebral, and I think the lack of athleticism is highlighting that now.

  • PittsburghSports

    He’s having an ok year though. Missed tackles. Trouble covering TEs down the seam. His PFF score is horrible. I’d like to know why he was flipping his hips to the opposite side of Seattle’s formation strength, during the Seahawks 1st TD, and also on that 18 yard Graham catch over the middle on 3rd down with Seattle backed up on their 15 in the 2nd qtr. that you posted on twitter. Could be more plays like that, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten watching the tape. It’s cool that he hasn’t missed a snap though, and he’s invaluable to our defense. Laurinaitis is ranked 4th at 99.7% snaps on that list of plays too. They’re both 29. Blake has also played a ton of snaps, injured. I’m not gonna hand him a medal lol.

  • Menace_501

    Thank you good to read the positives once in awhile keep up the good work guys.

  • Zurich1012

    I am not sure its declining performance as much as it has been documented that he still has some lingering effects of the turf toe injury. If they rework his contract numbers, it would be wise to keep him.

    The linebacker situation is so unstable right now. What we have are average to solid starters but no one appears to be the future and dominant. Looking at the situation today, Dupree has a shot of becoming such a player. Harrison will not be back (likely not) Jarvis and Moats can play solid but neither scare opposing teams.
    The Steelers need defensive backs but they also need to revive the pass rush and put fear back into opposing offenses. The defense needs to re establish the fine balance of consistent pressure with solid coverage that will results in turnovers. And hopefully also cause opposing quarterbacks to wear depends diapers. This current defense is soft!

    I will agree with the fact that the middle linebackers are killing us stopping the run. Teams run right up the middle. The last running back got (only) 81 yards? That to me isn’t an achievement because Seattle could have gotten allot more if they weren’t ripping the secondary to shreds through the air. Timmons is still valuable as a veteran for his leadership if his numbers can be re worked.

  • Matt Manzo

    It’s gotta be frustrating for LT! So much change around him!
    I don’t think his replacement is on this roster.

    Speaking of Telvin Smith! I had him and Shazier as near equals in their draft! Does anyone think Smith could do what he’s doin now, on our D?

  • NW86

    Remember back in August when he got a couple preseason games off to rest his turf toe issue and all the doomsdayers said he was just like Jack Lambert and his career was over? I remember trying to get them to R-E-L-A-X and having no success. I wonder where they are now?

  • gdeuce

    He was also responsible for giving up some huge plays because he played the coverage wrong

  • LucasY59

    right now I say keep Spence and VW, the Depth/Future at ILB needs to stay consistent, and keeping those two (even if they stay the backups) is worth the $, I was hoping Shaz would turn into a star (and make Spence expendable/want a chance to play more somewhere else) but Sean has played A Lot of Snaps (so now I really think they should keep him, which will probably cost more than a normal depth guy, but is a good insurance policy) The 100% mark by Timmons is impressive, but I think there are times (even now and definitely in the future) where Vince should get some snaps and give Timmons some rest, running him 100% will only hurt the team (and possibly the player) if they continue to do so after he passes the 30yo mark. If they lose Spence to FA, Williams becomes a big priority to extend (and make sure they dont lose both)

  • Ask Questions Later

    While it is nice to see him play well over 95% of the snaps, linebacker truly is a punishing position. Add the fact that he is already showing signs of the wrong sides 30 and his cap hit is NASTY (pre or post June 1st irrelevant), I would not be surprised if he either:

    1.) Takes reduced pay

    or

    2.) Gets released.

    Honestly, he has had a great career, but like every player, the sun will set at some point; some faster than others. Does Lawerence Timmons have at least another year? Sure. Will he be better when the toe injury is fully gone? Absolutely. Will he gone in 2016 should he not accept the pay cut? Most definitely.

  • Steve

    Need your head examined. Timmons has already reworked his contract numerous time for the Steelers. Guess you didn’t read the above article very well, he is the ONLY player to play 100%, not over 95% as you say, defensive player in the NFL. Now you want to reduce this guys pay or release him – WTF?

  • Bob Loblaw

    His responsibilities are a bit different with us doing more cover 2, and he missed much of preseason with turf toe. His game has improved as the season has gone on. By eye test standards he looks the same, it’s just he’s had some mental lapses.

    I’d love to see him with the team another three to four years. Farrier really came into his own at that point in his career, there’s no reason to think the more athletic Timmons should too.

  • PittsburghSports

    More Cover-3 than anything, apparently.

  • Ask Questions Later

    I said well over 95%, which equates to anything over that. Second, his cap is going to hurt unless the league ups the salary cap. Third, you did not address my statement regarding his age, meaning you have no rebuttal.

  • PittsburghSports

    I don’t think Timmons is going anywhere soon. He’s Tomlin’s original draft pick. He won’t part with that, and I’m sure Timmons will take a salary reduction at one point.

  • PittsburghSports

    He’s reworked his contract, but all that does is make his cap hit smaller THAT particular year, and push guaranteed money down the line, or something like that. I’m not 100% sure on the contract stuff. I know for sure he’s not losing a single dime when he does it.

  • justafanlikeyou

    I’ll agree with you on his ability to stay on the field. What we’ll have to disagree on is his level of play this year. Timmons has been out of position and invisible against the run this year. A lot of the big runs against this defense have been right up the gut. That’s below the line for a MLB

  • Steve

    This is a discussion and have plenty of rebuttal. Timmons is the only NFL Defensive player to play 100% of the plays. So he is over 30, so what, Shazier cant stay on the field and neither can Spence. Steelers would have to pay Timmons even if they cut him, like they did with Woodley.

  • Xclewsive

    Timmons will never ever get the credit he deserves!!! Everything he’s done fans will end it with some sort of caveat. If the rest of the defense wasn’t so suspect outside of a few other players then Timmons wouldn’t be left to run with WR/uber athletic TEs/RBs/ and be overexposed.

  • Ask Questions Later

    If they do cut Timmons, they save money.

    Either way, that could easily be the sole reason he stays. Shazier seriously cannot stay on the field for whatever reason and I doubt Tomlin would go on with Spence or Williams for the mack role.