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fordfixer
09-04-2008, 02:48 PM
Foote vs. Timmons
Posted September 3, 2008 7 :30 PM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... epressbox/ (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/viewfromthepressbox/)

Larry Foote or Lawrence Timmons as the Steelers' starting right inside linebacker?

Does it even matter? Not to coach Mike Tomlin.

"I could care less who runs out of that tunnel," Tomlin said of the pre-game ritual at Heinz Field that is done for the starters on offense or defense. "That's irrelevant. We're blessed with great depth at the linebacker position and those guys are going to play for us."

It's funny how the same people that labeled Lawrence Timmons as the next Alonzo Jackson seem just as quick to buy Larry Foote a one-way ticket out of town (or at least a one-way ticket to the bench) so Timmons can have the position all to himself.

What exactly is the rush here? Foote is still a solid linebacker, particularly against the run. And as good and as explosive as Timmons looked at times during the preseason, the second-year man is still a work in progress.

He is not the next Alonzo Jackson, one of the biggest busts in Steelers history. But let's hold off on anointing him the next L.T. for now. Let the kid grow into greatness he seems destined for, and the best way to do that is by playing Timmons a lot this season but not necessarily starting him.

Timmons' versatility allows the Steelers to do just that.

He can play inside, which he'll do on most passing downs, and he can also play outside since the 15th overall pick of the 2007 draft is athletic enough to drop back into coverage as well as rush the quarterback.

It has been pretty clear for awhile now that Timmons will be used in much the same way a sixth man is in basketball. There is nothing wrong with that considering he is still a relatively young -- Timmons only played three seasons at Florida State -- and considering that the 6-1, 234-pounder doesn't appear to have a problem with such a role.

When asked if he wants to start because of the competitor in him, Timmons said, "Nobody is selfish like that."

Maybe that is because he knows his time is coming, and sooner rather than later.

Foote is well aware of it.

When asked if he considers himself the starter at right inside linebacker Foote said, "That's why way I'm approaching it but we'll let that stuff unfold."

Yes, let it happen instead of forcing it to happen.

If Timmons proves to superior to Foote, he'll eventually supplant him in the starting lineup. Right now, though, there appears to be room for both of them.

And that, as Tomlin said, is a good thing for the Steelers.