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fordfixer
09-09-2011, 01:04 AM
Linebacker Timmons' stock up with Steelers
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, September 9, 2011
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 55835.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_755835.html)

James Farrior described a recent hit on Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan, and the Steelers' venerable inside linebacker punctuated his play-by-play with a "Pow!"

What he said about Lawrence Timmons, who delivered the jarring hit, proved to be even more of an eyebrow-raiser than Farrior getting animated about a play that happened in a preseason game.

"I really feel like he can be the best defensive player in the league," Farrior said.

Farrior is hardly alone among his teammates in his belief that Timmons stands at the brink of a breakout season.

The push from good to great starts Sunday in Baltimore, where the renewal of arguably the best rivalry in the NFL will feature stellar play from star-studded groups of linebackers.

No 'backer on either team might be more on the rise than Timmons, given the five-year, $50 million contract he signed last month and that Farrior isn't prone to hyperbole.

When told of Farrior's statement, Timmons said in surprise, "Oh really. That's a heck of a statement there."

Indeed it is considering the wealth of defensive talent concentrated in the Steelers' locker room. Among three of the past NFL Defensive Player of the Year winners are strong safety Troy Polamalu (2010) and outside linebacker James Harrison ('08).

There also is outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who has recorded at least 10 sacks in his first three seasons as a starter, joining Harrison as the only players in Steelers' history to accomplish the feat.

Not that Timmons is a newcomer to the hits parties the Steelers' defense throws on a regular basis. He led the Steelers in tackles (149) in 2010, despite fading a bit in the second of the season.

And the 15th overall pick of the 2007 draft, coach Mike Tomlin's first with the Steelers, blew his cover long ago at least among teammates who marvel at his ability to hit like a falling tree and shadow tight ends and running backs in pass coverage.

"He's got a huge burst to the ball," Polamalu said. "He's very instinctual."

When asked if the 6-foot-1, 234-pound Timmons, who also can play outside linebacker, is the best athlete on the Steelers' defense, Polamalu said, "Probably."

Timmons has taken awhile to find his footing since there are so many established players around him, but that isn't the only reason.

He played just three seasons at Florida State before declaring for the 2007 NFL Draft. Football became his job before he had celebrated even his 21st birthday.

That helps explain why, as Farrior said, "I didn't know what his voice sounded like when he got here. He wasn't saying anything in the meeting room."

Timmons won't get any votes for chattiest player on the team. But he does seem more comfortable in a locker room that is filled with dominant personalities.

"I was 20 years old, so there's quite a difference," Timmons said. "I guess I've grown up some."

Timmons celebrated his 25th birthday in May, and he and Woodley, 26, head the vanguard of young players with which the Steelers plan to one day reload.

Woodley said neither he nor Timmons has played his best football.

"We haven't outright made it to the Pro Bowl yet," said Woodley, who made the Pro Bowl as a reserve in 2009. "This year, hopefully, we'll get that opportunity."

Men in the middle

The Steelers aren't the only team associated with top-shelf linebackers. "The Steelers and the Ravens, I think, are by far the quality linebackers of this league," Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said Thursday. Here's a look at the Ravens' starting linebackers:

OLB Terrell Suggs: Four-time Pro Bowler has 10 1/2 career sacks against Steelers, his second-most against any opponent.

ILB Jameel McClain: Finished third on Ravens in tackles last season (91), his first one as a starter.

ILB Ray Lewis: Has 305 tackles in 25 career games against the Steelers, the most stops he has against any team.

OLB Jarrett Johnson: Has played in 113 consecutive regular-season games, the longest streak in Ravens' history.

Source: Ravens

Read more: Linebacker Timmons' stock up with Steelers - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1XQdEVTqm (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_755835.html#ixzz1XQdEVTqm)

fordfixer
09-09-2011, 01:15 AM
Harrison, Woodley pose challenge for Ravens
http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/sport ... 03286.html (http://www.carrollcountytimes.com/sports/local/harrison-woodley-pose-challenge-for-ravens/article_e33f4896-da82-11e0-82f1-001cc4c03286.html)

Posted: Thursday, September 8, 2011 11:15 pm | Updated: 9:30 pm, Thu Sep 8, 2011.

By Aaron Wilson, Times Staff Writer | 0 comments

OWINGS MILLS - James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley defy conventional blocking schemes and ordinary blockers, overpowering offensive tackles with their superior strength, speed and deep repertoire of pass rushing moves.

Unleashing vicious hits and triggering fearful reactions, the Pittsburgh Steelers' formidable outside linebacker tandem is the scourge of quarterbacks around the league.

Between the two of them, there's a mounting body count of fallen quarterbacks decked by their relentless charge into the backfield.

"They have all the tools," Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Michael Oher said. "They're strong, fast and they're physical. They have what it takes to get the edge on you."

Now, the Ravens' retooled offensive line is tasked with walling off Harrison and Woodley to protect quarterback Joe Flacco during Sunday's season opener at M&T Bank Stadium.

The two aggressive outside linebackers combined for 20 sacks last season one year removed from generating a total of 23 sacks and piling up 27 three years ago to break the franchise's sack duo record. That surpassed the record of 24 combined sacks established by Jason Gildon and Joey Porter in 2000 and Kevin Greene and Greg Lloyd in 1994.

An intimidating former NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Harrison is a bullish power rusher who produced 10 sacks, 100 tackles, six forced fumbles and two interceptions last season.

And Woodley is a prototypical all-around outside linebacker who racked up 10 sacks, two interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries last season.

"They have two premier pass rushers on the same team," coach John Harbaugh said. "That makes a big difference. So, you can't really target a double team on any particular guy. They do a great job, not so much as creating free runners with their pressure package, but they create matchups.

"And they get all their rushes on all your different blockers at some point in time. Those two guys in particular are great leverage rushers. They do a great job with their hands and their leverage just working technique to beat a pass block."

Woodley has registered 39 sacks in his first four seasons, the best start to a career in Steelers franchise history ahead of Porter and Chad Brown.

Harrison is the lone player in franchise history to pose at least 10 sacks in three consecutive seasons.

"They are part of what makes that defense really good," Flacco said. "They have two guys on the outside that can really rush the passer and disrupt things in the run game. They do a great job of creating that opportunity and capitalizing on that, but we feel like we have the guys in place to take care of them. We all have to do our part."

Woodley has a trademark spin move that's extremely difficult to counteract.

Overwhelming offenses, Harrison rips through blockers or he runs around them.

"Obviously, they're big, they're strong, they're compact, and they're built," offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. "They're built to defend the run and be effective in pass rush. We're fortunate to go against some guys very similar to that every day."

The Ravens are in the unenviable position of squaring off with Harrison and Woodley with limited preparation time.

Left offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie signed with the Ravens after being cut by the Minnesota Vikings when he reported at 387 pounds. Down to 370 pounds, the 6-foot-8 former Pro Bowl lineman didn't play at all during the preseason.

And Oher hasn't played right tackle since his rookie season.

"We're getting a lot of practice time," Oher said. "As long as we get good reps every day, it will come. You can't worry about it. I look forward to it. I love the rivalry and playing against these guys and getting after each other."

Oher isn't overly concerned.

Neither are the Ravens' coaches or Flacco, at least not that anyone will admit.

"We feel good about our tackles," Cameron said. "We feel good about the men we have protecting. I feel great about where our tackles are going into this game."

Although it's difficult to provide chip-blocking assistance against both blockers and stay in maximum protection sets, the Ravens can use double tight end alignments. Plus, they have All-Pro fullback Vonta Leach to lend a hand as an extra bodyguard for Flacco.

Flacco has been hit plenty of times against the Steelers in the past, but he emphasized that he's not worried.

"The thoughts are all good," Flacco said. "I'm not really concerned about it. We're going to go out there and play football and let those guys go play. I am going to have trust behind them.

"I think we have a good group of guys together and that is the most important thing. We have the guys in the right spot, and they are all a good group of guys."

insanesteelersfan
09-09-2011, 01:20 AM
I Love Timmons fans. But be honest, which Right Inside Linebacker would you rather have. " Timmons " or the Niners " Patrick Willis "



And why ?

DukieBoy
09-09-2011, 07:53 AM
Patrick Willis is indeed an incredible player, widely known and recognized as such. Far as I think I know, he has stood out on a mediocre defense, Perhaps that defense is designed to keep him clean so he can make plays, though I do not know their defense. I cannot name another Niner defensive player as I think about it here and now. I really do not know his abilities in pass coverage, but I assume they are strong based on his reputation. I understand he is very strong against the run, and a team leader.

Timmons has played on a great defense, a team defense that is not designed around him, on a D where Deebo and Troy and Wood and others have been the center of attention locally and nationally. This is one reason why he is not as strongly covered in the media. I think his stock runs very high with people who know football well. Certainly, the Steelers value him highly, and I am glad they have worked out his contract for some years to come, at a good value for the team.

D Rock
09-09-2011, 08:05 AM
I'll take Timmons, because I'm a religious type of fella.

Thou shalt not covet the Niners goods.

steelblood
09-09-2011, 08:36 AM
Willis has a very high football IQ that Timmons does not quite possess. But, Timmons is probably a better athlete and may have a higher ceiling. I think Timmons can continue to get better for 3 more years. Willis is a finished product.

Oviedo
09-09-2011, 08:54 AM
Willis has a very high football IQ that Timmons does not quite possess. But, Timmons is probably a better athlete and may have a higher ceiling. I think Timmons can continue to get better for 3 more years. Willis is a finished product.

:Agree The 9ers defense has been keyed around Willis so he stands out because everything is funneled to him and he builds big tackle stats but Timmons is a physical freak and more complete talent who I think can do so much more. There isn't another LB in the league that can run woith TEs, RBs and even WRs like Timmons. Heck...Timmons might even be a better CB than McFadden and Gay :wink:

papillon
09-09-2011, 08:55 AM
I've seen Willis play once and that isn't enough of a sampling to make any kind of analysis between the two. How many times have you seen Willis play? Or, are you basing your assessment that he's better than Timmons on reports and the media? All I know about Willis is his reputation as a good to great ILB. The game I saw he was good with a lot of tackles, so that, fits the profile that is reported about him. That being said, I'll stay with Timmons and his explosiveness, he's still learning and is considered very good and the fact that other all-pro and pro-bowl Steeler defenders praise his abilities at every turn.

I'll dance with the girl I brought to the dance.

Pappy

feltdizz
09-09-2011, 08:59 AM
Isn't Willis in a 4-3? It's tailored for him to make all the plays just like Ray Ray... when the Ravens went to a 3-4 one year Ray Ray was not happy because he said it was too hard for him to stay clean and make plays.

I loved Willis coming out of college and I was praying he would fall.... I also love the story about his family and all he has been through but I would still take Timmons. The guy is making a name of himself on a D with Woodley, Harrison, and Troy.

I'm sure if Timmons was in a 4-3 in Buffalo or Arizona he would be well known. He would probably have 200 tackles.

flippy
09-09-2011, 09:02 AM
Timmons play dropped of in the 2nd half when he wasn't 100% but he still had more tackles and passes defended than Willis did last year. And I suspect he generated more QB pressure too.

I'd take Timmons over Willis. He's a more explosive player. And this is gonna be the year the rest of the NFL recognizes it. Timmons is my early favorite for DMVP.

He's gonna get better if he's healthy and if he makes the sacks when he gets the opportunities, he's gonna get the national spotlight this year.

insanesteelersfan
09-09-2011, 10:52 AM
Isn't Willis in a 4-3? It's tailored for him to make all the plays just like Ray Ray... when the Ravens went to a 3-4 one year Ray Ray was not happy because he said it was too hard for him to stay clean and make plays.

I loved Willis coming out of college and I was praying he would fall.... I also love the story about his family and all he has been through but I would still take Timmons. The guy is making a name of himself on a D with Woodley, Harrison, and Troy.

I'm sure if Timmons was in a 4-3 in Buffalo or Arizona he would be well known. He would probably have 200 tackles.




To answer your question...NO. Willis has NEVER been a 4-3 LB. He has ALWAYS played in a 3-4 defense. Now I appreciate everyone saying Timmons is a better athlete and quicker then Willis. But that is not true. Willis averaged over 18 tackles a game his final two years in college. And ran a faster 40 time then Timmons while carrying 20 more pounds. And Willis in the Niners
3-4 defense was constantly double-teamed by the offense. As where Timmons has never faced a Double in his life as a steeler. Yes BOTH are very good players. But sorry, I would take Willis over Timmons,,,ever so slightly, but I would.

RuthlessBurgher
09-09-2011, 03:35 PM
Willis has had the better career up to this point...I don't think there is any question about that. However, this year, he loses the NT who kept him clean (Aubrayo Franklin) as well as the veteran ILB next to him (Takeo Spikes), while Timmons still gets to play behind Casey Hampton and next to James Farrior. I think Timmons should close the gap a bit this season, but right now, Willis is a flat out beast. Timmons can certainly be beastly at times, but he hasn't reached that level quite yet.

fordfixer
09-10-2011, 12:21 PM
ILB Sylvester gives Steelers offense a look
By John Grupp, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Saturday, September 10, 2011
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 56039.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_756039.html)

Second-year Steelers inside linebacker Stevenson Sylvester is one of the players who comprise the scout-team defense.

The 6-foot-2, 231-pound Sylvester this week played the role of Ravens All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis. He worked hard at giving quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and his offensive line the best possible look at what to expect Sunday.

"I think the offense really does appreciate what we do," Sylvester said. "I'm moving around a lot. Getting us lined up and making sure everything is organized. I try to give them as best of a look as I can."

Roethlisberger said the scout defense can be "very helpful," provided they are motivated in their roles.

"You need guys that want to do it," he said. "If you have an attitude like, 'All right I shouldn't be over here,' then usually, you are not getting a good look. You need guys that want to be over there and want to improve (the team). Then, you are going to get good looks. And we have good guys that do that."

Wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game in Baltimore. Rookie linebacker Chris Carter (hamstring) is out. Rookie Marcus Gilbert (concussion), a second-round pick from Florida, is probable.

Ravens left guard Ben Grubbs (thigh), who didn't practice Thursday or Friday, is listed as probable. Backup middle linebacker Jason Phillips is questionable with a concussion.

The Steelers have won an NFL-best eight consecutive season-opening games, starting with a 34-15 victory over the Ravens in 2003. But for the second year in a row, the Steelers (+1.5) are underdogs in Las Vegas. Last year, the Roethlisberger-less Steelers beat two-point favorite Atlanta, 16-10, in overtime at Heinz Field.

Read more: ILB Sylvester gives Steelers offense a look - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1XZEVNI4N (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_756039.html#ixzz1XZEVNI4N)

NorthCoast
09-11-2011, 08:58 AM
yea, be careful following what the media has to say.....they also say the Brian Urlacher is one of the great LB's in the league. (my opinion, he was in maybe his first or second season, but hasn't sniffed that since...)

Djfan
09-11-2011, 09:29 AM
yea, be careful following what the media has to say.....they also say the Brian Urlacher is one of the great LB's in the league. (my opinion, he was in maybe his first or second season, but hasn't sniffed that since...)

And, Ben is a third tier QB, along with Vick.