When it comes to linebackers in the AFC, Lawrence Timmons might very well be the conference’s ‘Rodney Dangerfield’ in the ‘respect’ department.
Although Timmons led his team in tackles for the second time in three years and was once again an animal in the middle of Pittsburgh’s defense, the former Florida State Seminole failed to make his first Pro Bowl roster this season.
In spite of the fact that Timmons was unable to garner a Pro Bowl nod, his longtime defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is certainly glad to have a player of Timmons’ caliber at his disposal according to Alan Robinson of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:
I think you could put Lawrence Timmons in anybody’s lineup, and he’s going to stand out and play good football, [...] In my honest opinion, maybe it’s somewhat biased, I think he’s played at an All-Pro level for several years. I don’t know what more you want the guy to do.
Although Timmons has been lost in the shuffle among players at his position in recent years, the soon-to-be eighth-year linebacker has been a model of consistency, professionalism, versatility and productivity since he started chipping in on the defensive side of the ball back in 2008.
A tackling machine for the Steelers’ defense, Timmons has racked up at least 100 tackles in three of the last four seasons from his weakside-inside linebacker spot. In what will go down as one of the most incredible performances of his career, Timmons recorded 20 tackles in a win last season over Baltimore and played most of the game with a broken hand.
As a pass-rusher, Timmons has been an underrated for Pittsburgh’s defense. Although players at his position do not post many sacks, Timmons has collected 26.0 of them over the last six seasons, including a career-high 7.0 back in 2009. Over that same span, Timmons has been responsible for 25 takeaways (nine interceptions, 11 forced fumbles and six fumble recoveries), and been an extremely adept pass defender (33 passes defensed).
Timmons also illustrated what a team player he was back in 2011 after injuries decimated Pittsburgh’s depth chart at outside linebacker. At midseason, the inside linebacker shifted over to James Harrison’s old spot and held the fort down at the right outside linebacker position during an important four-game winning streak.
Timmons even moved into a leadership role last fall after Larry Foote went down on opening day with an injury. With Foote out of the lineup, Timmons had to call the defensive plays on the field in the veteran’s absence for the final 15 games of the 2013 regular season.
It is truly hard not to like or respect what Timmons has done during his quiet yet terrific professional career with the Steelers. As important as he has been and currently is to Pittsburgh’s defensive success, I hope that one day he will be rewarded for his individual efforts with at least one Pro Bowl nod. In my humble opinion, his the snubs he received after the 2010 and 2013 seasons were nothing short of ridiculous.
Although Timmons might not garner or relish the limelight like some of his teammates, I am nevertheless happy that the 27-year-old has been such an important cog in Pittsburgh’s defensive machine for the last six seasons. Moreover, it is even more exciting to think about how there should be plenty more productive seasons on the horizon for the quiet inside linebacker.
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