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hawaiiansteel
05-13-2011, 02:44 AM
The Steelers Linebacker Situation: Taking It One Year At a Time

by NYSteelersFan4 on May 12, 2011

http://cdn2.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/1198912/73056_steelers_harrison_football.jpg


The Blitzburgh image was built around the play of great linebackers under the masterful command of defensive coordinator D!ck LeBeau. Greg Lloyd, Kevin Green, Levon Kirkland and Chad Brown were the earliest manifestation of the organized chaos known as the zone blitz, and after many years of outstanding linebacker play in the Black and Gold it appears that going in to next season the Steelers may be in a procarious position with their current Blitzburgh group. Between contract situations and mother nature taking it's course, the front office has some decisions to make between now and next offseason.

The last few seasons Steelers fans have been fortunate enough to bare witness to some of the best linebacking play we've seen since the original Steel Curtain of the 1970's. Still under the command of the man who brought Blitzburgh to the forefront in the 1990's, D!ck LeBeau, the on field names may change, but the end product has always been a constant. With the assistence of his player general James Farrior; James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons have all been outstanding playmakers on the defensive side of the ball.

Now, the captain James Farrior enters his tenth season in Pittsburgh, and his sixteenth season as a professional. He is 36 years old, and will turn 37 in January, hopefully in the midst of another Superbowl run for Pittsburgh. It is safe to ask how many more years he has in him; considering he has already ran straight through the wall of conventional wisdom in terms of players his age.

James Harrison is in a somewhat similar place in his career. After coming into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2002, Harrison was essentially a journeyman for the early part of his career. In the latter part, he was dominent. He is currently 33, and is signed through 2014. The video of him working out coming off surgery is encouraging, but if you watch him game in game out, there is one part of Harrison's body that takes the most punishment. His back issues are something to keep an eye on. He's a warrior out there, I fully expect him to work himself back into form myself, but you just don't know.

Lawrence Timmons' age is of absolutely no concern. The dynamic linebacker is about to be 25 in a few days, and has played four full seasons as a member of the Steelers. What is a concern for Timmons is his contract, which runs out after next season.

LaMarr Woodley signed a one year "Franchise Player" contract just a few weeks ago. Obviously this means after this season he is also a free agent. In the past, the Steelers have used this tag to give them time to work out a new deal with the player tagged, unfortunately the CBA situation has prevented any progress to be made on that front.

Beyond the starting four linebackers, there is youth to be tapped into, and some veteran presence as well.

Jason Worilds was a second round pick, who flashed that promise at times last year after a slow start. The Steelers drafted Chris Carter in the fifth round this past draft. It will be interesting to see how these two fare this year, because that will definitely determine the way the OLB situation is handled this offseason.

As far as the inside linebacker situation, veteran Larry Foote is locked up for the next two years. He will be 31 when the season starts, and for as good as Larry has been in the past for the Steelers, it can't be forgotten that the organization felt they should upgrade his position 4 full seasons ago when they drafted Timmons. They felt confident enough in Lawrence to let Larry leave for Detroit via free agency in 2009. Foote was brought back after one season in Detroit, and is a valuable locker room presence.

Without seeing the field much last year with the exception of spot duty, his status now is somewhat questionable; not his status on the roster necessarily, but what type of player he will be if pressed into playing time. I have no doubt he'll be ready to play if asked, but what type of play we can expect is another question all together.

Stevenson Sylvester was drafted in the fifth round in 2010. He played well on special teams, and saw the field as both an inside and outside linebacker last year, which is promising. Much like the young outside linebackers, what Sylvester shows this year will be heavily factored into what the front office does next offseason.

What this whole thing boils down to is that beyond this season, the linebacker situation in Pittsburgh is pretty much up in the air. The front office will have to decide if they can re-sign two young playmakers, and if they cannot, which one to let go. The front office will also have to assess what they have left in terms of veteran's abilities and some veteran players will be deciding how many more years they want to play (James Farrior being the one with the toughest decision). The young players have a lot to prove if they want to step into any one of these possible openings.

After this season, the Steelers Front Office has many a decision to make, and many an option to choose from. It may be unrealistic to assume that the four linebackers we currently have will all be back the following year, but how do you see this whole situation being addressed?

Poll
If you had to choose one or the other, which player would you re-sign after next season?

52%
Lawrence Timmons
304 votes

47%
LaMarr Woodley
270 votes

574 total votes

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... #storyjump (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/5/12/2157062/the-steelers-linebacker-situation-taking-it-one-year-at-a-time#storyjump)

Oviedo
05-13-2011, 08:40 AM
Timmons' ceitling is far higher than any LB we have. No way I would let him go.

With the franchise tag, I would love to see if Woodley can be dominant for a full 16 game season not the final eight games and the playoffs. If he wants top dollar he needs to show that this season.

sentinel33
05-13-2011, 11:32 AM
Timmons is the heir-apparent to Captain the LB's once potsie has finished his run.

I would love to have Woodley back, but Timmons is the priority. In this case, the truth hurts. But maybe he takes his 10 mill. paycheck this year into account and meets the steelers half-way and we get both. I don't know.

But we keep Timmons. No way we throw away 4 years of grooming.

Worilds and Carter could be the OLB's of the future. With or without Woodley.
And we have to re-sign Ike. That, to me, is also a no-brainer.


On a slightly side note-Wtih the addition of Heyward and Brown on defense through the draft, this could really be the Year of the LB in Pittsburgh.

This prediction stems from an assumption that Heyward is in the rotation by mid-season and Brown has a hold on the nickle(while pressuring McFadden for the 2-spot).
Pus, it could be Farriors swan song. You play your A$$ off for Jimmy, danmnit!

flippy
05-13-2011, 12:55 PM
It's a no brainer to keep Woodley and Timmons. These guys that suggest one or the other sound high to me.

And if you're gonna talk about one or the other scenarios, why not throw Troy, Ike, Smitty, Keisel, Harrison, Casey, and Farrior into the mix too. Maybe we have to let some old guy go to keep Woodley and Timmons. THat's gonna be the real decision here.

Ike could make it easier on us if he left. But he won't. And I don't want him to go.

Farrior's gotta be getting close to retirement, but maybe not, he's always coming into camp in great shape. Does he take a hair cut to help and become a 2 down player? I'd keep him as long as he wants to stay for the leadership.

Smitty and Keisel are gonna have to accept reduced roles and less pay to stay. And Hampton's getting old too with no clear successor.

And Troy if healthy may deserve to be the highet paid player in the league on defense. But can he stay healthy.

And James is still the most complete defender next to Troy in the game. What do you do with him? Gotta keep him as long as we can too.

It's tough being stacked.

But Woodley and Timmons are the young core of the D. No way you let either go.

Oviedo
05-13-2011, 01:03 PM
It's a no brainer to keep Woodley and Timmons. These guys that suggest one or the other sound high to me.

And if you're gonna talk about one or the other scenarios, why not throw Troy, Ike, Smitty, Keisel, Harrison, Casey, and Farrior into the mix too. Maybe we have to let some old guy go to keep Woodley and Timmons. THat's gonna be the real decision here.

Ike could make it easier on us if he left. But he won't. And I don't want him to go.

Farrior's gotta be getting close to retirement, but maybe not, he's always coming into camp in great shape. Does he take a hair cut to help and become a 2 down player? I'd keep him as long as he wants to stay for the leadership.

Smitty and Keisel are gonna have to accept reduced roles and less pay to stay. And Hampton's getting old too with no clear successor.

And Troy if healthy may deserve to be the highet paid player in the league on defense. But can he stay healthy.

And James is still the most complete defender next to Troy in the game. What do you do with him? Gotta keep him as long as we can too.

It's tough being stacked.

But Woodley and Timmons are the young core of the D. No way you let either go.

I agree 100%. It is time to start letting go of these veterans starting with Aaron Smith this season. He eats up alot of salary cap and no way dores he play 16 games and at best he will just rotate in on the DL. Ziggy proved last year he can be the starter.

This should also be the last year for Farrior. He is playing on borrowed time and I just want one more good season out of him but this should be his last.

Troy and harrison are interesting problems. If Troy has another season where he misses a couple of games with injuries do you resign/extend him to a long term contract? Or do you let him walk like Woodson and take the chance he won't be great for a couple more years?

My real concern is Harrison. If he battles a balky back this season, how long do you hang on to him and eat that salary?

hawaiiansteel
05-13-2011, 03:24 PM
It is time to start letting go of these veterans starting with Aaron Smith this season.


you can tell how much respect Tomlin has for Aaron Smith by the fact that he kept Smitty on the roster even when he was injured last season.

I highly doubt Tomlin lets him go, I'm betting that Aaron Smith plays at least one more season.

RuthlessBurgher
05-13-2011, 04:09 PM
It's a no brainer to keep Woodley and Timmons. These guys that suggest one or the other sound high to me.

And if you're gonna talk about one or the other scenarios, why not throw Troy, Ike, Smitty, Keisel, Harrison, Casey, and Farrior into the mix too. Maybe we have to let some old guy go to keep Woodley and Timmons. THat's gonna be the real decision here.

Ike could make it easier on us if he left. But he won't. And I don't want him to go.

Farrior's gotta be getting close to retirement, but maybe not, he's always coming into camp in great shape. Does he take a hair cut to help and become a 2 down player? I'd keep him as long as he wants to stay for the leadership.

Smitty and Keisel are gonna have to accept reduced roles and less pay to stay. And Hampton's getting old too with no clear successor.

And Troy if healthy may deserve to be the highet paid player in the league on defense. But can he stay healthy.

And James is still the most complete defender next to Troy in the game. What do you do with him? Gotta keep him as long as we can too.

It's tough being stacked.

But Woodley and Timmons are the young core of the D. No way you let either go.

I agree 100%. It is time to start letting go of these veterans starting with Aaron Smith this season. He eats up alot of salary cap and no way dores he play 16 games and at best he will just rotate in on the DL. Ziggy proved last year he can be the starter.

This should also be the last year for Farrior. He is playing on borrowed time and I just want one more good season out of him but this should be his last.

Troy and harrison are interesting problems. If Troy has another season where he misses a couple of games with injuries do you resign/extend him to a long term contract? Or do you let him walk like Woodson and take the chance he won't be great for a couple more years?

My real concern is Harrison. If he battles a balky back this season, how long do you hang on to him and eat that salary?

There was no salary cap last year, and there may not be one again this year (if Judge Nelson's decision to lift the lockout is upheld in the appeal and we go back to the 2010 rules for 2011).

Doogie36
05-13-2011, 04:28 PM
I personally think too many people get caught up with AGE! There are 2 players on our defense that drastically change stats when they dont play. Those 2 players are Troy P and Aaron Smith. I know this article is about LB's but we tend to always bring up Aaron Smith and salaries and such and it drives me nuts. When Aaron smith plays we give up less running yards per carry! It's that simple! It's proven and every 1/2 yard in the game of football is important. When TROY P plays we give up less points and cause more TURNOVERS per game and again in the game of football all that matters.

So yes neither guy might not be 100% everygame but again in the game of football it only takes 10 W's usually to make the playoffs and if these guys can turn 10 L's into W's then I want them playing regardless of their age.

Do you guys remember Terry Bradshaws last game against the JETS? Season was over we werent going anywhere and this guy with an OLD ARM won us a game! A 75% Bradshaw was still better then anyone else at that time and he won us that game. Troy P and Aaron SMith are those type of players on this defense.

As Steeler fans we dont usually sit around and complain about the one that GOT AWAY on this squad. Our front office is pretty darn good when it comes to letting guys go that we dont end up missing with the exception of Rod Woodson!

Anyone miss FRANCO when he went to the Seahawks are ran out of bounds on every play????

Anyone miss Yancey Thigpen, Neil Odonnell, Chad Brown, Joey Porter, Kevin Greene, Plaxico, Santonio, Kordell, Nate Washington???? Just to name a few...............Big names but just roll players!!! They werent a TROY P or a Aaron Smith.

Again just my take! Can't complain when our front office usually is on point with these types of decisions!

Oviedo
05-13-2011, 04:34 PM
I personally think too many people get caught up with AGE! There are 2 players on our defense that drastically change stats when they dont play. Those 2 players are Troy P and Aaron Smith. I know this article is about LB's but we tend to always bring up Aaron Smith and salaries and such and it drives me nuts. When Aaron smith plays we give up less running yards per carry! It's that simple! It's proven and every 1/2 yard in the game of football is important. When TROY P plays we give up less points and cause more TURNOVERS per game and again in the game of football all that matters.

So yes neither guy might not be 100% everygame but again in the game of football it only takes 10 W's usually to make the playoffs and if these guys can turn 10 L's into W's then I want them playing regardless of their age.

Do you guys remember Terry Bradshaws last game against the JETS? Season was over we werent going anywhere and this guy with an OLD ARM won us a game! A 75% Bradshaw was still better then anyone else at that time and he won us that game. Troy P and Aaron SMith are those type of players on this defense.

As Steeler fans we dont usually sit around and complain about the one that GOT AWAY on this squad. Our front office is pretty darn good when it comes to letting guys go that we dont end up missing with the exception of Rod Woodson!

Anyone miss FRANCO when he went to the Seahawks are ran out of bounds on every play????

Anyone miss Yancey Thigpen, Neil Odonnell, Chad Brown, Joey Porter, Kevin Greene, Plaxico, Santonio, Kordell, Nate Washington???? Just to name a few...............Big names but just roll players!!! They werent a TROY P or a Aaron Smith.

Again just my take! Can't complain when our front office usually is on point with these types of decisions!

Age does matter. How long did it take us to get back to the Super Bowl after 1980 when the core of the Steel Curtain became too old? We made the Super Bowl without Smith last year so it is a non-debate that it isn't essential to bring him back. Troy is unique because the defensive coord has designed so much of his scheme around that one player. Troy leaves, you modify and adjust the scheme (something I don't think our DC is willing to do).

Fortunately, we have a front office that has been pretty good at keeping the flow of talent into the organization. That is something that was not happening from 1980-1995.

Doogie36
05-13-2011, 04:38 PM
Ok i can live with that! When you have a franchise QB it's a lot easier to handle a few injuries here or there as well.

So many factors in the game of football but our organization has done a great job but if you want to argue age and Aaron Smith then we really need to argue the point about Hines Ward as well NO?

Hines or Aaaron? Lets debate that one!

Oviedo
05-13-2011, 04:47 PM
Ok i can live with that! When you have a franchise QB it's a lot easier to handle a few injuries here or there as well.

So many factors in the game of football but our organization has done a great job but if you want to argue age and Aaron Smith then we really need to argue the point about Hines Ward as well NO?

Hines or Aaaron? Lets debate that one!

Hines still has value because we have an unproven group of young WRs. Wallace is on the upswing for sure but Sanders and Brown are far from sure things even though they did show glimmers of what they could do last year.

Ziggy clearly proved he could step in and perform to a high level for Smith. No WR has done that yet with regards to Hines. Besides once Hines gets 1000 catches this season to cement his HoF resume I think he too will have to go.

Discipline of Steel
05-13-2011, 06:53 PM
Ok i can live with that! When you have a franchise QB it's a lot easier to handle a few injuries here or there as well.

So many factors in the game of football but our organization has done a great job but if you want to argue age and Aaron Smith then we really need to argue the point about Hines Ward as well NO?

Hines or Aaaron? Lets debate that one!

Hines still has value because we have an unproven group of young WRs. Wallace is on the upswing for sure but Sanders and Brown are far from sure things even though they did show glimmers of what they could do last year.

Ziggy clearly proved he could step in and perform to a high level for Smith. No WR has done that yet with regards to Hines. Besides once Hines gets 1000 catches this season to cement his HoF resume I think he too will have to go.

Thats like saying Jason Worilds clearly proved he could step in and perform at as high a level as James Harrison.

Oviedo
05-13-2011, 09:18 PM
Ok i can live with that! When you have a franchise QB it's a lot easier to handle a few injuries here or there as well.

So many factors in the game of football but our organization has done a great job but if you want to argue age and Aaron Smith then we really need to argue the point about Hines Ward as well NO?

Hines or Aaaron? Lets debate that one!

Hines still has value because we have an unproven group of young WRs. Wallace is on the upswing for sure but Sanders and Brown are far from sure things even though they did show glimmers of what they could do last year.

Ziggy clearly proved he could step in and perform to a high level for Smith. No WR has done that yet with regards to Hines. Besides once Hines gets 1000 catches this season to cement his HoF resume I think he too will have to go.

Thats like saying Jason Worilds clearly proved he could step in and perform at as high a level as James Harrison.

Maybe Worilds or someone else can. Would you have predicted that a player who had been cut three times and was nothing more than a special teams player could become the Defensive Player of the Year?

NJ-STEELER
05-14-2011, 11:55 AM
as mentioned


you dont draft 2 DEs in the first round to sit. so smith and possibly keisel probably wont be back after next year.

and you certainly dont keep them on the roster in lieu of the younger, more dynamic LBs we'll have to re sign in wood and timmons

Captain Lemming
05-14-2011, 12:33 PM
I personally think too many people get caught up with AGE! There are 2 players on our defense that drastically change stats when they dont play. Those 2 players are Troy P and Aaron Smith. I know this article is about LB's but we tend to always bring up Aaron Smith and salaries and such and it drives me nuts. When Aaron smith plays we give up less running yards per carry! It's that simple! It's proven and every 1/2 yard in the game of football is important.

OK, Did you not watch football last year.
Did you write this post in 2008 and it JUST APPEARED in this thread?
Have you just stepped off the "Back to the Future" Delorian?

Because:

During Smitty's entire career the Steeler run defense has never been as dominant as it was during the period that he was injured last year and got BETTER in the playoffs.

Is Ziggy better than Smitty in his prime? No. Not yet at least.

But the to give credit to ONE LINEMAN for the success of our entire run game success is ridiculous.

Discipline of Steel
05-14-2011, 12:50 PM
Ok i can live with that! When you have a franchise QB it's a lot easier to handle a few injuries here or there as well.

So many factors in the game of football but our organization has done a great job but if you want to argue age and Aaron Smith then we really need to argue the point about Hines Ward as well NO?

Hines or Aaaron? Lets debate that one!

Hines still has value because we have an unproven group of young WRs. Wallace is on the upswing for sure but Sanders and Brown are far from sure things even though they did show glimmers of what they could do last year.

Ziggy clearly proved he could step in and perform to a high level for Smith. No WR has done that yet with regards to Hines. Besides once Hines gets 1000 catches this season to cement his HoF resume I think he too will have to go.

Thats like saying Jason Worilds clearly proved he could step in and perform at as high a level as James Harrison.

Maybe Worilds or someone else can. Would you have predicted that a player who had been cut three times and was nothing more than a special teams player could become the Defensive Player of the Year?

True but Harrison is now a proven commodity, having earned 3rd in DPOY last season, and Worilds, et al. are still unproven. The back surgery adds a little uncertainty but until James Harrisons play declines, hes still the most complete and ferocious linebacker in football. I look at where hes been, and where hes currently at, and it pains me to hear people engineering his departure to save cap room and make room so younger players can see the field. I dont care who they are, they arent nearly as good. I enjoy watching James Harrison's play in particular because he is the alpha male on the field. I would even go so far to say he is the quiet leader on that defense. Lets not be so hasty to throw the towel in on him yet. He deserves ample opportunity to prove himself because hes already done it so many times.

Captain Lemming
05-14-2011, 12:58 PM
Ok i can live with that! When you have a franchise QB it's a lot easier to handle a few injuries here or there as well.

So many factors in the game of football but our organization has done a great job but if you want to argue age and Aaron Smith then we really need to argue the point about Hines Ward as well NO?

Hines or Aaaron? Lets debate that one!

Hines still has value because we have an unproven group of young WRs. Wallace is on the upswing for sure but Sanders and Brown are far from sure things even though they did show glimmers of what they could do last year.

Ziggy clearly proved he could step in and perform to a high level for Smith. No WR has done that yet with regards to Hines. Besides once Hines gets 1000 catches this season to cement his HoF resume I think he too will have to go.

Thats like saying Jason Worilds clearly proved he could step in and perform at as high a level as James Harrison.

No Ziggy started thirteen games and the Dline was fine. Without question, "Ziggy clearly proved he could step in and perform to a high level for Smith."

Worilds has done NOTHING to prove ANYTHING close to that.

Shawn
05-14-2011, 05:51 PM
If forced to pick between Timmons and Woodley...it's really a no brainer for me. Timmons is the man. He does it all, covers, tackles, and is Troy Jr in his ability to blitz. Woodley is a terrific OLB, but also a product of being opposite Harrison and the 3-4 system. He can be replaced. I'm not suggesting I want him replaced but if forced to make decisions, it's an easy one for me.

NJ-STEELER
05-14-2011, 06:37 PM
i guess i need some of that timmons kool aid your all drinking


the only thing he does better then woodley is cover, and its not like he doesnt get beat there either

Captain Lemming
05-14-2011, 11:24 PM
i guess i need some of that timmons kool aid your all drinking


the only thing he does better then woodley is cover, and its not like he doesnt get beat there either

Actually if we lose Timmons the run D suffers mightily too.

Woodley's run D is nothing special. Replacing his run D is no big whoop

Woodley is really the "one trick pony" of the two.
"ALL" he excels at is rushing the passer.

NJ-STEELER
05-15-2011, 02:20 AM
really?

he sets the edge on the end pretty well on run plays (just like harrison does on the other side) where timmons still gets lost when a blocker gets into him. if woodley had linemen taking up blocks for him like timmons does, i'm sure he would fly untouched to the ball occasionally too. i mean, how much worse were the run stats when an average and later waived larry foote was manning the same spot?

i'm not trying to downgrade timmons like you are with woodley. i wont label him 1 trick pony as you put it. but, i'll repeat myself and say the only thing he's better at is covering down the field.

he's not better against the run
he's not better coming off the edge.
he has trouble beating an RB staying in on blitz pick up (where woodley and harrison seem to man handle the RBs)
he doesn't cause more turnovers
woodley isnt even that bad in coverage (see cincy game)

Shawn
05-15-2011, 03:43 AM
Timmons is an athletic freak. He doesn't have a weakness in his game that I can see. He is fast, explosive and strong enough to sort through traffic. He is elite in coverage for a linebacker, blitzes as well as any ILB and is a force stopping the run. Call it Kool Aide drinking but the guy can play. Woodley blitzes and he does that well, no doubt about it. I think he is also very solid stopping the run. I think he is average when asked to cover. He is certainly not as well rounded, and no doubt he benefits being lined up opposite Harrison. The 3-4 system also improves his stock. If giving ratings I would give Woodley an 8.5/10 and Timmons a 9.5/10. There is little doubt in my mind that Timmons is the tougher guy to replace.

Oviedo
05-15-2011, 08:37 AM
Timmons is an athletic freak. He doesn't have a weakness in his game that I can see. He is fast, explosive and strong enough to sort through traffic. He is elite in coverage for a linebacker, blitzes as well as any ILB and is a force stopping the run. Call it Kool Aide drinking but the guy can play. Woodley blitzes and he does that well, no doubt about it. I think he is also very solid stopping the run. I think he is average when asked to cover. He is certainly not as well rounded, and no doubt he benefits being lined up opposite Harrison. The 3-4 system also improves his stock. If giving ratings I would give Woodley an 8.5/10 and Timmons a 9.5/10. There is little doubt in my mind that Timmons is the tougher guy to replace.

:Agree Timmons will always have his detractors because Tomlin drafted him instead of a certain LB from PSU. The reality is that at 25 Timmons is one of the best young LBs in the NFL. If I had to choose between Woodley and Timmons it woulkd be the latter no question asked. Timmons could do what Woodley does, but Woodley couldn't do what Timmons does.

NJ-STEELER
05-15-2011, 09:09 AM
I think both are very good players. I just give woodley the edge. No poz lover here. Maybe kool aid was too strong of a phrase

I don't see Timmons being able to rush the QB as well as wood. He's lined uP outside a few times. All he has is a speed rush. I also don't think hes great when he has a blocker to deal with. he has more to prove then woodly IMO. 1st half of last year he was great though

I disagree he's harder to replace. We've seen the defense drop a notch when the LOLB isn't as strong as woodly. We become a more average defense when we can't get pressure from both sides. DL defense thrives when we get to the QB. I'm not chancing that if we had to choose between the 2. Easier to find someone play on the inside IMO

1 more thing I have a problem that I've seen on here. How Does wood benefit from having debo on the other side,. But Larry isn't benefitted from having double digit sack guys on the outside?? Offenses focus on our outside guys freeing up the inside blitz
There's no doubt in my mind who offenses are more worried about

RuthlessBurgher
05-15-2011, 01:18 PM
Timmons is an athletic freak. He doesn't have a weakness in his game that I can see. He is fast, explosive and strong enough to sort through traffic. He is elite in coverage for a linebacker, blitzes as well as any ILB and is a force stopping the run. Call it Kool Aide drinking but the guy can play. Woodley blitzes and he does that well, no doubt about it. I think he is also very solid stopping the run. I think he is average when asked to cover. He is certainly not as well rounded, and no doubt he benefits being lined up opposite Harrison. The 3-4 system also improves his stock. If giving ratings I would give Woodley an 8.5/10 and Timmons a 9.5/10. There is little doubt in my mind that Timmons is the tougher guy to replace.

:Agree Timmons will always have his detractors because Tomlin drafted him instead of a certain LB from PSU. The reality is that at 25 Timmons is one of the best young LBs in the NFL. If I had to choose between Woodley and Timmons it woulkd be the latter no question asked. Timmons could do what Woodley does, but Woodley couldn't do what Timmons does.

You seriously think people are carrying a torch for Posluszny 4 years later? Please...

Captain Lemming
05-15-2011, 10:02 PM
he sets the edge on the end pretty well on run plays (just like harrison does on the other side)

Woodley is not in the same stratosphere as Harrison versus the run.
Harrison had literally TWICE the number of tackles as Woodley.


Where timmons still gets lost when a blocker gets into him. if woodley had linemen taking up blocks for him like timmons does, i'm sure he would fly untouched to the ball occasionally too. i mean, how much worse were the run stats when an average and later waived larry foote was manning the same spot?
Wrong again.
Last season,Timmons had over 30 more tackles than Foote was ever had in a single season.
Not Even Close

You want to compare Woodley and Timmons Run D?
Do you know how we stop cold top running games? Texans, Ravens, Jets ?
Everytime we play one of those teams, Timmons is huge.

For example,discounting sacks, against the Texans, Timmons had 15 tackles versus 3 for Woodley.
Timmons had more tackles than Woodley and Farrior combined!

So who made the biggest difference in stopping cat quick Chris Johnson?

And before you make the "outside guys take all the blocks" excuse Harrison had 11 tackles in that game.

Timmons had 5 tackles to every one Woodley had.


i'm not trying to downgrade timmons like you are with woodley. i wont label him 1 trick pony as you put it. but, i'll repeat myself and say the only thing he's better at is covering down the field.

Oh please, when you say "the only thing" that is exactly what is implied.


he's not better against the run
Proven wrong

he's not better coming off the edge.
he has trouble beating an RB staying in on blitz pick up (where woodley and harrison seem to man handle the RBs)
Again, no matter how many ways you break it down, this is ONE SINGULAR area, where Woodley is better. A pass rusher.
He is today's Jason Gildon.


he doesn't cause more turnovers
Woodley had 5 Timmons 4 last season. A meaningless difference.
Actually they have exactly the same number of career turnovers. Ten.
This despite the fact that Woodley has an entire season head start as a starter.

Turnovers is a wash.

Look, I don't really "Hate" on Woodley. Prior to this thread I never said anything negative about him.
I hope we can sign both.
This is Just "in comparison to Timmons"

Woodley is an awesome pass rusher.
Like Kevin Greene or Jason Gildon.

But given a choice between those guys and say a Gregg Lloyd, I take Lloyd every time.
But by the definitions you give, Gildon was better than Lloyd.

Timmons is like Lloyd in his skill set, with less mean but more speed.

NJ-STEELER
05-16-2011, 01:31 AM
I never liked Larry foote much and thought we could improve that spot in the defense for a while. That said how much 'worse' was the entire defense vs. The run game when he was in there?? Not looking at individual tackling stats. You make it sound like the run D stunk before Timmons took over that spot. Furthermore if woodley was so bad against the run why the heck are teams abandoning it against us. Why not just run it over the right tackle play after play like we did to GB in the 3rd qr to exploit that weakness

What are Timmons weaknesses in your opinion?
What can he improve on? Just curious.


Ps. I don't get the Lloyd comparisons. GL was an elite pass rusher. I don't feel LT is in that class

bam morris's lawyer
05-16-2011, 01:58 AM
I would give up Smith, keisel, farrior, or ward, before I'd give up either of our young LBs. That's where the salary dumps will take place, if need be. Smith may very well be done, Hines has 1 or 2 more years, same with farrior. Keisel and smith's replacements are already here. The FO has been historically very shrewd about when to let an aging vet go, and I doubt they'll change their policy now. I'm sure they see that Hines and Aaron are near the end. They both love this team, and may take less to stay. Or, they may retire. But both would be sacrificed before Woodley or timmons. There is NO ONE that can bring what Timmons has. And Worilds has not proved anything yet. The OLBs are the showcase of a 3-4 defense. If they are not dominant pass rushers, the 3-4 will falter. We've been spoiled with our OLBs in Pittsburgh. It's been one nasty group after another. If that changed, our secondary would get brutally shredded. All four of the vets I mentioned already have young replacements in waiting. That tells you all you need to know.

flippy
05-16-2011, 09:54 AM
If our OLBs bring as much pressure as many think, why does Lebeau have to send Troy and Timmons from both ends to generate pressure in critical 3rd downs so often?

Harrison and Woodley are great OLBs. They are both well rounded guys. And Woodley can drop into coverage. And it reminds me of the way Levon Kirkland was great in coverage but for some reason, no one ever gave him credit for that part of his game. I think people see a big body and assume a guy can't cover. But just like Levon, when you watch Woodley in coverage, he's pretty darn good.

I like Woodley and Timmons. From day 1 with Woodley, his game was complete. And Timmons is still growing into his athleticism today.

In fairness, Timmons has a lot more responsibilities. But when he finally puts it all together, we're gonna be talking about him as the best LB in the league. I'm down for this year being his breakout season.

RuthlessBurgher
05-16-2011, 10:09 AM
If our OLBs bring as much pressure as many think, why does Lebeau have to send Troy and Timmons from both ends to generate pressure in critical 3rd downs so often?

Harrison and Woodley are great OLBs. They are both well rounded guys. And Woodley can drop into coverage. And it reminds me of the way Levon Kirkland was great in coverage but for some reason, no one ever gave him credit for that part of his game. I think people see a big body and assume a guy can't cover. But just like Levon, when you watch Woodley in coverage, he's pretty darn good.

I like Woodley and Timmons. From day 1 with Woodley, his game was complete. And Timmons is still growing into his athleticism today.

In fairness, Timmons has a lot more responsibilities. But when he finally puts it all together, we're gonna be talking about him as the best LB in the league. I'm down for this year being his breakout season.

I disagree about people not giving Kirkland credit for his ability to cover. I would always marvel at the ability for a guy pushing 3 bills to stay with a TE 30 yards downfield. Remarkable.

Oviedo
05-16-2011, 10:46 AM
If our OLBs bring as much pressure as many think, why does Lebeau have to send Troy and Timmons from both ends to generate pressure in critical 3rd downs so often?

Harrison and Woodley are great OLBs. They are both well rounded guys. And Woodley can drop into coverage. And it reminds me of the way Levon Kirkland was great in coverage but for some reason, no one ever gave him credit for that part of his game. I think people see a big body and assume a guy can't cover. But just like Levon, when you watch Woodley in coverage, he's pretty darn good.

I like Woodley and Timmons. From day 1 with Woodley, his game was complete. And Timmons is still growing into his athleticism today.

In fairness, Timmons has a lot more responsibilities. But when he finally puts it all together, we're gonna be talking about him as the best LB in the league. I'm down for this year being his breakout season.

I disagree about people not giving Kirkland credit for his ability to cover. I would always marvel at the ability for a guy pushing 3 bills to stay with a TE 30 yards downfield. Remarkable.

:Agree Kirkland was much more than just a run stuffer. His movement skills for someone his size were exceptional.

I also agree with your comment about responsibilities. Timmons is asked to do much more than Woodley. Both are great and I want to keep both.

Captain Lemming
05-16-2011, 09:16 PM
I never liked Larry foote much and thought we could improve that spot in the defense for a while. That said how much 'worse' was the entire defense vs. The run game when he was in there?? Not looking at individual tackling stats.

So you want to judge an "individual" by a "team" stat?
We can do that, it is equally impressive.
Dude we have always had good run defenses but THIS WAS THE STATISTICALLY BEST STEELER RUN DEFENSE EVER!!!!!



The Steelers have had the number one run defense many times.
THIS YEARS RUN DEFENSE WAS SPECIAL.

One quote:

Steelers have best run defense ever, so far
Sunday, November 14, 2010
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The Steelers have lost both of their starting defensive ends to injuries for various lengths of time, yet their defense continues to treat running backs as if they were tree limbs fed to a wood shredder.

For the only time in NFL history, a defense has not allowed more than 75 yards rushing in any one of its first eight games. That Steelers run defense has allowed just 58.25 yards on average, which at the midway point of their season is on pace to beat the 2000 Baltimore Ravens' 16-game NFL record of 60.625.

They have another half-season to go, and they will play two of the best running teams in the league between now and Christmas -- No. 2 Oakland (162.2 ypg) and the No. 4 New York Jets (148.0).

They probably will not have defensive end Aaron Smith back for either, and defensive end Brett Keisel will miss his third game in the past four tonight with a hamstring injury. Smith always has been a major factor why the run defense is so consistently good, so it may not hold up in the second half the way it did through eight games. That is why coach Mike Tomlin is holding a roster spot for him, for a possible playoff run.

They have done it against some of the best runners the NFL has to offer. Atlanta's Michael Turner, fifth in the league, had 42 yards against them on 19 carries. Tennessee's Chris Johnson, sixth in the NFL, had 34 yards on 16 carries. No. 11 Ray Rice of Baltimore had 20 yards on eight tries. No. 13 Peyton Hillis of Cleveland had 41 yards on 12 carries.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10318/11 ... z1MYqzO5W2 (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10318/1103171-66.stm#ixzz1MYqzO5W2)

Second Quote:

Pittsburgh allowed 437 fewer yards than the second-place Bears (1,441 yards). That difference of 27.3 yards per game is the largest gap between first and second place since 1951, when the Giants were 45.1 yards better than the Browns.


You make it sound like the run D stunk before Timmons took over that spot.
Please provide a quote. I never said ANYTHING to that effect. The degree that an already outstanding run defense can improve says something about Timmons.


Furthermore if woodley was so bad against the run why the heck are teams abandoning it against us. Why not just run it over the right tackle play after play like we did to GB in the 3rd qr to exploit that weakness

For one I never said Woodley was "bad" against the run. Timmons is just much better against the run. I said "Woodley is not special as a run defender." That doesn't make him "bad" just "not special". I find this to be the case with many pass rush specialist type OLBers. This is what sets JH apart from the rest. Harrison is like Lawrence Taylor back in the day, dominant against the run and pass.

Dude the numbers dont lie:

Harrison 100 tackles
Farrior 109 tackles
Timmons 135 tackles
Woodley 50 tackles

There is another LB on his side. Perhaps when teams run his way, someone else makes the play when Woodley doesnt? Regardless he is the least productive LB in the run game of our guys.


What are Timmons weaknesses in your opinion?
What can he improve on? Just curious.

I agree with you he can get better as a pass rusher. That doesnt mean he is bad at it now. When he blitzed a lot, he did get 7 sacks one season. Nobody since Kendrell has done that from the inside. Kendrell got something like 8 one year and people were losing their mind over him.

Timmons isnt bad, he just has not hit his potential since he has the talent to be a scary inside blitzer.

I also see him continuing to improve in every area. Based on his huge jump last year I would not be at all surprised if he simply dominates the position as the leagues best inside LB.


Ps. I don't get the Lloyd comparisons. GL was an elite pass rusher. I don't feel LT is in that class

GL averaged about 7 sacks as a starter. GL had 10 sack once in his career, something both Woodley and Harrison do annually. He was not the small DE sized type who will bullrush a tackle like the Woodley, Harrison, Greene, Gildon, types can. He was 4-3 LB sized. They picked spots to blitz GL far more than the others. He had to use speed when blitzing, if a lineman got him locked up he was done. In the run game, GL had speed and amazing pursuit capabilities. He got a ton of tackles on run plays, even when the play went away from him.

I see Timmons as having the same skill set as Lloyd. They have a rare "burst" and are hard to escape from.

GLs career was not defined by "number of sacks". He made plays all game long. Timmons is that kind of player.

Captain Lemming
05-16-2011, 09:30 PM
Still regardless of which of these players we would choose the best outcome is more of this:

http://nimg.sulekha.com/sports/original700/lex-hilliard-ryan-clark-lamarr-woodley-lawrence-timmons-2010-1-3-14-10-7.jpg

NJ-STEELER
05-16-2011, 10:09 PM
With GL. I KNOW he could do it all. I still consider pretty elite as a rusher. Just because he was seemingly always able to beat his man on the outside


K bell was another guy that didn't let the RB pick up his blitz. He went thru them rather then around them. I don't need to see Timmons do that bit I need to see him beat a RB consistently. Hopefully he improves there

I think Timmons played the run better this past year then the year before where he often got lost when engaged.
Hardy Nickerson. J olsavsky, and Earl Holmes used to put up great tackle numbers in our defense too. The inside guys in a 3-4 seem to do that. I wouldn't take any of those guys over Greene/porter who likely had less tackles (didn't look)

But. LT is a lot better then them and can do much more. I hope we get to see more of it
I'd still rate woodley a bit higher...if I had to grade them out I'd say

Debo 9.5
Woodley 8.5
Timmons 8

Not dissing him. Just think lamaar is a bit better.

ikestops85
05-17-2011, 05:09 PM
With GL. I KNOW he could do it all. I still consider pretty elite as a rusher. Just because he was seemingly always able to beat his man on the outside


K bell was another guy that didn't let the RB pick up his blitz. He went thru them rather then around them. I don't need to see Timmons do that bit I need to see him beat a RB consistently. Hopefully he improves there

I think Timmons played the run better this past year then the year before where he often got lost when engaged.
Hardy Nickerson. J olsavsky, and Earl Holmes used to put up great tackle numbers in our defense too. The inside guys in a 3-4 seem to do that. I wouldn't take any of those guys over Greene/porter who likely had less tackles (didn't look)

But. LT is a lot better then them and can do much more. I hope we get to see more of it
I'd still rate woodley a bit higher...if I had to grade them out I'd say

Debo 9.5
Woodley 8.5
Timmons 8

Not dissing him. Just think lamaar is a bit better.

All I have to say is take a look at those 3 linebackers and then think what a great problem to have. We, at Steeler Nation, are extremely spoiled ... and I love it. :tt2 :tt2

hawaiiansteel
05-19-2011, 12:51 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester Talks With Steelers Chronicle

Posted by Tom Jenkins May 18, 2011

http://img.fannation.com/upload/truth_rumor/photo_upload/217/330/full/Stevenson_Sylvester_103541633.jpg

Earlier tonight, Steelers Chronicle made a new, very important friend. He is, of course, a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and to narrow it down a little more, part of one of the most complete linebacking corps in the NFL today. That man is Stevenson Sylvester.

Tom Jenkins: What was the reason that you chose #55, and have you drawn any comparisons to former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter because of it?
Stevenson Sylvester: I was originally assigned #47, and I really liked it because itís sort of an unusual number for a linebacker, that was the number I wore in the pre-season. But, in a nod to Mel Blount, I was given an option between #52 and #55 and chose 55, because my initials are SS and 55 and SS are very similar.As far as comparisons to Joey Porter, not really outside of good natured jokes from the guys, but itís funny seeing a bunch of #55 jerseys around here, and hoping that they say Sylvester on the back of them.

TJ: During the pre-season last year, you had a fantastic game against the New York Giants, impressing Steelers Linebackers Coach Keith Butler, high praise from a man that has coached some of the best in the business, how did that feel?
SS: Coach Butler is a really cool guy, I wasnít really doing anything out of the ordinary though, they gave me the tools and I used them. Iím more thankful for the atmosphere around here, itís truly a blessing to be around each and everyone of these guys.

TJ: Who has helped you out the most since being drafted?
SS: I canít really single out any one person, because everyone has always been there when I needed help, everyone was willing to work with me on anything I needed. Larry Foote and James Farrior have helped me tremendously though.

TJ: The Steelers are always known for their great linebackers, what do you think the biggest factor in them having such a solid group of guys year in and year out is?
SS: The Steelers have always been known for their linebackers, and that plays into it Ė a sense of history that we all really take to heart. We know that we, too, have to make our mark on the game, and we all try and show up 100% of the time.

TJ: Do you love playing on special teams as much as you love playing on defense in general?
SS: Well, obviously I love the defensive side of the ball, itís my passion, but I enjoy special teams as well. It gives me the opportunity to get on the field and show what Iíve got.

TJ: Do you think that being a rookie in the playoffs put more pressure on you? Or by that time does the word rookie kind of lose itís meaning?
SS: Yes and no, really. Because no one wants to lose a game at the expense of a rookie, but by the time the seasonís ĺ of the way done, weíre all just Steelers.

TJ: How hard was it to learn D!ck LeBeauĎs 3-4 defense?
SS: Very, very hard. The amount of techniques that you need to master is staggering, but as long as you put a lot of time into studying the playbook, youíve got to make an effort to be ambitious enough to try and learn it. Add onto that the fact that heís coming up with three or four new plays every week, on top of the base defense and itís what makes the defense so hard for opposing offenses to scheme for us.

TJ: Some of the players like to keep certain game balls from pivotal plays (their first sack, forced fumble, etc.) what specific event are you waiting for to keep one of those?
SS My first touchdown, Iím definitely keeping that one.

TJ: Thereís talk around Steeler Nation about you being the next in line for veteran James FarriorĎs starting spot, once he retires, do you feel that youíre ready to take on that role?
SS: Right now, Iím really just trying to learn as much as I can from James and the rest of the guys, and despite what anyone says, he hasnít lost a step, heís still as good as he always was, heís one of those guys that flies under the radar, because heís been doing his job. That being said, if and when the opportunity arises, and my number is called Ė Iíll be ready.

TJ: Your mother is not only your mother, but described by you as your Ďtoughest coachí, whatís that been like during your sporting career?
SS: Iíve never seen a woman who knows the inner workings of football so well, she could easily coach at any level if she wanted to. I still remember when Iíd play basketball, sheíd be behind the bench yelling over the coach, telling me what to do. Itís really hard to point to one specific thing that sheís told me, because theyíve all helped so much.

TJ: What do you feel are your biggest strengths on the field?
SS: I think my knowledge of the game is a definite strength, especially for my age, I really feel like I understand opposing offenses very well. I learn easily and Iím versatile, so I feel that Iím doing very well for this point in my career. Anytime Coach Butler is missing a position in practice, he pretty much just says ĎSly Ė get in there!í.

TJ: If you had the ultimate choice, would you rather play inside or outside linebacker?
SS: Iíll play anywhere Iím asked and anywhere I can help the team, but if I had the choice Iíd pick inside.

TJ: What have you been doing to keep in good shape during the NFL lockout?
SS: I just got done with my eight week training course on Friday, so right now Iím working out once a day and studying my playbook. If the lockout continues, Iíll be heading back to my personal trainers, who are really great people, to start the process over again.

TJ: Are there any plans to get the team together to work out together, or anything along those lines?
SS: Defensively, not really. Iím sure the offensive guys will get together because timing is so important in that aspect of the game, but I havenít heard anything about it yet.

TJ: Have you reached out to any of the rookies from this yearís class to welcome them to the team?
SS: Not yet, I havenít really had any way to get a hold of them. But, Iím really excited to see what they can bring to the table, hopefully theyíll be ready to step up if their number is called, like my rookie class did for the team last year when called upon.

TJ: Speaking of rookies that had to step up, Ben Roethlisberger is a prime example of that, whatís the thought process when youíre lined up opposite of a big, mobile quarterback who can run like the wind?
SS: Iím just glad we donít have to tackle him.

TJ: Whatís the best part about being a Pittsburgh Steeler?
SS: The fact that the fans are everywhere. The support from literally all over the world is staggering. There are so many fans that travel everywhere for this team, and we really appreciate all of them.

TJ: When youíre not preparing for games, keeping in shape, or studying your playbook, what do you do with your Ďrelaxí time?
SS: Iím a big movie guy, but other than that, I like to be with my family, and just relax.

TJ: You opened the door, so, whatís your favorite movie
SS: I donít know, I donít want you to laugh at me.

TJ: Youíre talking to a guy who can quote Bring It On word for word.
SS: *After prolonged laughter. I really like Will Ferrellís movies, and watched Sheís Out Of My League recently, but my favorite would have to be an Eddie Murphy classic Ė Norbit.

TJ: Who do you think is the best Steelers linebacker of all time?
SS: Thereís really no right answer to that, because so many guys have done so many things in so many different ways, itís hard to compare them. Youíve got guys like Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Robin Cole, Levon Kirkland, and even James Farrior.

TJ: What player(s) did you grow up watching, and wanting to be like?
SS: James Farrior, I grew up wanting to learn from him, wanting to be mentored by him, and now I get to do that every day.

TJ: You have a lot of respect for James, giving him a lot of love during this conversation, weíll have to show him this and get him to buy you a steak dinner or something.
SS: Haha, yeah. Heíd probably make me pay for it, though, he just reminded me about a month ago that Iím still a rookie.

TJ: Thanks a lot for you time, Sly, Steelers Chronicle and myself are proud to call you a friend!
SS: No problem, I really enjoyed it. I love all of the fans we have as a team and Iíll do anything I can for them.

As you can tell from the interview, Sly as heís called, has the utmost respect not only for his current teammates, but also for Steelers history. He knows where this team came from, and heís determined to be a part of where itís going. The respect he has for James Farrior was obvious, and he talked of him as if theyíd known each other for years.

Remember to check out his website, Sly55.com, where you can find out more about his life, including reading his blog, and also get any updates on the charity work that he plans on doing in the future.

http://www.steelerschronicle.com/2011/0 ... nt=Twitter (http://www.steelerschronicle.com/2011/05/pittsburgh-steelers-linebacker-stevenson-sylvester-talks-with-steelers-chronicle.html/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SteelersChronicle+%28Steelers +Chronicle%29&utm_content=Twitter)

RuthlessBurgher
05-19-2011, 01:20 PM
Tom Jenkins: What was the reason that you chose #55, and have you drawn any comparisons to former Steelers linebacker Joey Porter because of it?
Stevenson Sylvester: I was originally assigned #47, and I really liked it because itís sort of an unusual number for a linebacker, that was the number I wore in the pre-season. But, in a nod to Mel Blount, I was given an option between #52 and #55 and chose 55, because my initials are SS and 55 and SS are very similar.As far as comparisons to Joey Porter, not really outside of good natured jokes from the guys, but itís funny seeing a bunch of #55 jerseys around here, and hoping that they say Sylvester on the back of them.

52? As far as I know, Webby's number has not been given out since he retired. Although Ernie Stautner's 70 is the only number that has been officially retired, there have been several that have been "unofficially" retired, such as 12, 32, 52, 58, 75, etc.

I was also impressed when Sly brought up the name Robin Cole, who retired the year before Stephenson Sylvester was born. The young'uns tend to know about Hall of Famers like Lambert and Ham, but guys like Cole sometimes slip through the cracks. Way to know your Steeler history, 55!