Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

In Perfect Position Pro Bowler Lawrence Timmons Happy as Inside Buck Linebacker and Wants to Stay There All Season

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

In Perfect Position Pro Bowler Lawrence Timmons Happy as Inside Buck Linebacker and Wants to Stay There All Season

Article excerpt

Lawrence Timmons has a new job again. It's the same new job he had to start the 2014 season, but that did not last long. Now he's praying for Ryan Shazier's good health so he can stay at it a little longer this time.

There are many descriptions that can go after the word "linebacker" in the Steelers dictionary. They have outside linebackers and inside linebackers and those can be broken down further. On the inside, there is the mack and the buck.

Timmons played the mack most of his career when he wasn't called upon to fill in at outside linebacker after injuries. The mack has more freedom to roam, cover receivers and make plays. The buck is the more stay-at-home tackler, although that is a little simplified, too.

Because they drafted the fastest linebacker maybe history in the first round a year ago, the Steelers put him, Ryan Shazier, at the mack and moved Timmons to the buck. That lasted until the third game when Shazier was hurt. From then on, Timmons had to move between the mack and buck often on the same defensive series.

So Shazier will line up at the mack again and Timmons takes over at the buck and, at 29 and entering his ninth season with his first Pro Bowl notch on his belt, it could be a great fit for both.

"He's good to go now, and I feel he's going to kill it," said Timmons, an opinion shared by many. "And I like it because I'm more of a crasher. I'm in the box taking on guards more, I get more tackles. It's a good thing.

"The mack, you're roaming more. Me being older or whatever and him having fresher legs, let the guy roam, that's what I say."

Oh give me a home, and that's also what Timmons might say. He has held several jobs since he was a No. 1 draft choice in 2007, the first under Mike Tomlin. He has been the most unsung player on their defense for quite some time, even bailing them out in 2011 over four games when James Harrison went down and they had no other good choice to put at right outside linebacker.

Now, with all the hand-wringing about a defense that ranked 18th in the NFL in yards allowed last season - their lowest in this century - the Steelers' strongest position with the most depth might just be inside linebacker. …

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