WILL THE REAL LAWRENCE TIMMONS PLEASE STAND UP?
WRITTEN ON JUNE 21, 2012 BY SYNDICATED SOURCES
Nothing is worse in Dynasty leagues than having a player who was a bona fide stud one year fall on his face the next. You get your hopes up and consider him a core player, a sure fire every week starter, then without warning or explanation he hits a slump so nasty that you want to drive to their city and beat them with a dead car battery. Having said that…
Will the real Lawrence Timmons please stand up?
In 2010, Timmons finished the year ranked as the LB7 in IDP leagues. He was machine of destruction. Through the first seven games he had racked up 56 solo tackles, 18 assists and three sacks. Nobody started off hotter! Then, something happened. Through the next six games he totaled just 20 solos, 17 assists, and zero sacks. He wasn’t hurt, there was no position change, and it wasn’t bad match-ups. It was like there was an imposter in his uniform. Timmons finished the year strong with 20 solos, seven assists, and a sack the final three weeks so everything was forgiven.
Fast forward to 2011 where all the “experts” had Timmons locked in as an elite tier, can’t miss, top five linebacker. There was very little reason to believe Timmons wasn’t going to build on his 2010 numbers. He was “The Man” in Pittsburgh – the next great Steelers linebacker following in the footsteps of all-time greats. Week one rolls around and he blows the stat sheet up against the Ravens with ten solos and two assists. Everything seemed on track as the LB1 we drafted was panning out. The next week, five solos and three assists – an average game, nothing to worry about. Week three versus the Colts was a snooze fest. It was three and out after three and out, so the stat sheet was not kind to the IDP players. One solo, two assists was all Timmons could tally. Just a bad match up, nothing to worry about, right?
From weeks five through eight, things got real interesting for Timmons’ owners. James Harrison, Pro Bowl outside linebacker, went down with an injury and Timmons was shifted into his spot. During those four games he TOTALED seven solos and five assists, including a week six goose egg. Everyone held their heads up though, Harrison was coming back in week nine and the Steelers were gonna get their uber-stud back on track. Unfortunately, that was not the case. Timmons slid back to his inside linebacker spot and continued his disappearing act. Only one more time in the 2011 season did he break double digit total tackles, which was in week 16.
Let’s look at his overall numbers from the past two seasons:
Season Tackles Tackles for Loss Assists Fum Recovered Fumbles Forced INTs Sacks Passes Defensed
2011 68 4 25 0 1 1 2 5
2010 96 10 39 2 2 2 3 10
As you can see, his numbers were down across the board. His total tackles dropped by 30% – that’s an insane amount. For playing four games as an outside linebacker, his big play numbers dipping in every category is also alarming. Simply put, he was invisible in almost every aspect of the game.
The thing that confuses me the most is the fact the Steelers drafted Jason Worilds as the heir apparent to James Harrison, but when Harrison went down, Worilds was left on the bench for an out-of-position Timmons. Furthermore, the Steelers have Stevenson Sylvester and Sean Spence on the roster learning the inside linebacker positions. That makes me wonder if the Steelers view their best option as Timmons and LaMarr Woodley as the future outside linebackers and Sylvester and Spence as the inside linebackers.
Timmons’ versatility makes him a great NFL player and a risky IDP investment. In Dynasty leagues, the investment is already made and his value is at an all-time low. So, there is no value in trying to move him now. He is just 26 years old, so there is plenty of time for him to bounce back. Maybe 2011 was shot simply because he couldn’t get into a groove switching back and forth between linebacker spots. It’s possible the lost off-season due to the lockout affected him negatively as well. Maybe 2010 was the reality and 2011 was the fluke?
Fantasy Football is a “what have you done for me lately?” business and Timmons will either be a phenomenal value in 2012 or continue to be an enigma. I would be too nervous trusting him as my LB1 in Dynasty start ups. In a 12 team league, I consider him a low-end LB2 and would honestly be more comfortable having him as my LB3 with upside. In a perfect world, I would group him with a top seven linebacker and an aging London Fletcher/Ray Lewis type to protect myself, just in case the 2010 season was the fluke.
All I can ask is will the real Lawrence Timmons please stand up?
Next Few Months Key For the Steelers Chris Carter
Jun 30th, 2012 by DomSteelers
As most of you probably know, the Steelers have arguably one of the best 3-4 Outside Linebacker rotations in the National Football League. James Harrison and LaMarr Woodley are established Pro Bowl players, and Jason Worilds is a solid backup behind both of the starters. While these three aforementioned players sit atop Pittsburgh’s depth chart, there is not a whole heck of a lot of experienced depth (3-4 scheme-wise) behind them. Chris Carter however is one player on the Steelers’ roster though that will be hungry to take hold of the other top backup spot at the Outside Linebacker position as he begins his second year in the League. So today I would like to discuss Carter’s career so far, and why his development over the next few months and the 2012 season are so important for him, the Outside Linebacker position, and the Defense as a whole.
Carter’s College Career and Rookie Season
Like almost all of the Outside Linebackers which have starred for the franchise over the last two decades, Carter lined up as a Defensive End in at Fresno State. A pass-rush specialist, Carter tore up the WAC off the edge, and really showcased his skills at getting to the Quarterback over his collegiate career. And as three year starter for the Bulldogs, Carter really emerged during his last two seasons with the team.
The 6’1” 248 lb. Carter earned All-WAC honors in 2009 and 2010, and was named Conference Defensive Player of the Year his Senior campaign where he racked up 11.0 Sacks, 16.5 Tackles For Losses, and 4 Forced Fumbles. Considered a smaller pass-rushing tweener (DE/OLB hybrid) coming out of college, Carter was thought to be a solid mid-Round selection for a 3-4 team looking to develop an Outside Linebacker.
Always on the lookout to bolster their pass-rush, the Steelers were one of those teams looking for a player with a skill-set like Carter’s to develop, and selected him up in the 5th Round last season.
After starring in college, Carter had a somewhat difficult Rookie season in Pittsburgh. Like almost all first year players on the Defensive side of the ball, Carter saw almost zero time during his Rookie season (3 Tackles, 1 Tackle For Loss Total in 2011). It is hard enough for many Rookies to transition to Defensive Coordinator Dick LeBeau’s Defensive schemes, but Carter was faced with a hamstring injury and limited to only 8 games, he had to learn a new position (3-4 OLB), and he did not have the luxury of OTA’s and minicamps during his first offseason to boot. Due to the lockout, Linebackers Coach Keith Butler described how difficult it was for Carter, as well as the team’s other young Linebackers (specifically Worilds and Stevenson Sylvester) to continue/begin their development and transition to their new positions the Steelers 3-4 scheme. Thus, to say that Carter’s first season was a tad rocky is somewhat of an understatement.
Carter’s Chances of Seizing Roster Spot
Over the next few months though, the 23 year-old Carter will have his best chance to put his skills on display and outplay the competition which will be after his backup job. Lucky for Carter, his top competition is a bit thin at the moment as he will likely have to fend off former Bengals newcomer Brandon Johnson (who will likely be used in Pass Coverage and Special Teams), UDFA tweener from Temple Adrian Robinson, 2011 UDFA Brandon Hicks from Florida, and possibly even newly acquired UDFA Ryan Baker and recently injury-waived UDFA tweener Brandon Lindsey of Pitt if he comes back healthy or clears waivers.
Despite the numbers of players competing for his job, Carter should have the best chance to win the 2nd string job opposite Worilds for two important reasons. First, he has the most experience in the LeBeau Defense, and second, he has extended experience on the Special Teams units. Plus, as Butler alluded to in the video I linked above, Carter has been given somewhat of a benefit of the doubt because he has yet to have a full offseason of OTA’s and minicamps to impress the coaching staff and show off his skills and the knowledge he has picked up so far of the Defensive system. While he may have some important advantages, Carter will still need to put his skills on display and impress the Coaching Staff over the next few months, and put his stamp on the backup job as quickly as possible. With an impressive training camp and preseason, there should be no reason Carter is left off of the roster.
Why Carter’s Emergence/Development Is Specifically Important:
Overall Pass-Rushing Depth
As a whole, depth and help as a pass-rusher would be the two biggest things Carter could bring to the table if he realizes his potential and continues to develop. Sure, the Steelers currently have some of the best pass-rushers in the game, and Carter will likely be relegated to Special Teams duty this season. Yet the injury-bug has not been kind to the Steelers and their Outside Linebackers over the last couple of seasons, and other issues also could be causes for alarm for the team in the not too distant future.
As it stands now, James Harrison is 34, has had back issues, and is not what you would call “BFF” with The Commissioner of the sport. Deebo might have another couple of seasons left in the tank, but back injuries are never the easiest to sustain and continue a high level of play with in one’s mid 30’s. Plus, after he was benched for one game last season after a perfectly legal hit on Colt McCoy, there is no telling what his punishment will be the next time he lights some poor guy up that decides to put his body in harm’s way. Granted, Jason Worilds has played well when given his chances over his three seasons with the team. Still, Worilds has missed multiple games over his short career with various injuries, and will reach Restricted Free Agent status after this season ends. Finally, despite the fact that he came on strong after a quiet and unimpressive start, LaMarr Woodley still missed significant time with a hamstring injury last season, and looked less than 100% towards the end of the season after he came back to the starting lineup.
Unlike Harrison though, I am sure Woodley will be fine and in tip-top shape in 2012 and beyond, and his health and long-term productivity are not causes for concern. But in the event that Harrison retires after the next couple of seasons and Worilds continues to get injured or leaves as a Free Agent, the Steelers still will need another pass-rusher or two to step-up and pick up some of the slack. Thus, Carter could be called upon to eventually fill that role come late 2013 or 2014 and give the Steelers another viable pass-rushing threat to pair with Woodley, and possibly even Worilds too if he decides to stay.
What to Look for This Season
As I alluded to before, Carter will likely not be thrust into the starting lineup unless a rash of injuries strike the Outside Linebacker position at such a high rate like they did last season. Nevertheless, the continued development of Carter as a stand-up pass-rusher might be important for this team over the coming seasons, and Training Camp and the preseason will be the places for us fans to keep a close eye on the former Fresno State Bulldog.
Like James Harrison, Lawrence Timmons, and it seems like all other Linebackers (especially tweeners) before him, Carter will likely be slated for another season on the Special Teams units as he learns the tricks of the trade from the Coaching Staff and the veterans at his position. There are few in the League which have the luxury of learning from some of the best at their craft (Harrison and Woodley), can be pushed by other young talent like Worilds, and getting some of the best coaching (Butler and LeBeau), all at the same time during their second year like Carter can. So if everything works out well, Carter, along with the other young LB’s, Worilds and Sylvester, should be able to take advantage of a full offseason of work and continue to improve each and every day at their respective positions.
I cannot wait for Training Camp, and I cannot wait to see what ends up happening with the Outside Linebacker situation over the next few seasons. As I stated before, Woodley is and will be a lock to start at one of the spots, but as far as Harrison and Worilds go, their futures’ with the franchise post 2013 could be a bit of a mystery.
At least to me, the backup roster spot and chance to develop into the next in line of the Steelers’ OLB’s should be Carter’s to lose over the next few months. My hope is that Carter can develop in a way similar to another former WAC tweener drafted in the 5th Round by the franchise who had a number of nice seasons for the Steelers: Clark Haggans. Like Haggans, hopefully Carter can emerge after a few seasons on Special Teams and become a solid Outside Linebacker if and when he is finally called upon to contribute.
All we can do though now is wait, and see what unfolds over the next few months.
By Ralph N. Paulk
Published: Thursday, August 9, 2012
• Linebacker Brandon Johnson raised his stock by disrupting Philadelphia’s offense in the second quarter. He had two tackles and a quarterback pressure that enabled defensive end Al Woods to intercept a pass he returned 51 yards to the Philadelphia 4-yard line.
Brandon Johnson gives us a solid veteran presence amidst a bunch of young'uns at OLB while Harrison and Worilds are on PUP. But once they are back in the fold, Johnson should be playing almost exclusively on special teams (if he even ultimately makes the team...Chris Carter and Adrian Robinson have both been bright spots in Harrison and Worilds' absenses).
Is it possible that Worillds is the odd man out? He was not called upon when JH went down last season, instead opting to use an unproductive Timmons out of position and simultaneously weaken the inside backer position. Now he is hurt and has not been able to show anything this summer. What are the chances that he is either cut or continues to be injured and players like Carter (who has received rave reviews so far) and Robinson vie for the backup spots?
He was called upon...he started 7 games out of the last 8...
Originally Posted by steeler_fan_in_t.o.
Unfortunately, he had a quad injury early in the season, so he was not available...
I think that there is almost zero chance that Worilds is released. I thought that he played pretty well last year. He didn't have big sack numbers, but he was among the team leaders in QB pressures. He has a lot of room to continue improving, but I think he will be given the chance, once healthy.
Originally Posted by steeler_fan_in_t.o.
Carter has shown a huge improvement from last year. At this point, I'd bet that Robinson ends up on the p.s., but if he shows good prowess on special teams, he might bump Stevenson Sylvester and convince the team to keep him as the 9th lber.
Q&A: Keith Butler
Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012
By Mike Bires firstname.lastname@example.org
Steelers third round draft pick, linebacker Sean Spence (51) listens to coach Keith Butler during rookie minicamp in May.
Keith Butler’s 10th training camp with the Steelers has been like none of his previous nine as linebackers coach. James Farrior, one of his favorite players, retired.
Perennial all-star James Harrison (knee) and reserve Jason Worilds (wrist) are on the physically unable to perform list and have yet to practice. Sean Spence and Adrian Robinson have flashed at times but they're rookies trying to learn. Brandon Johnson, a former Cincinnati Bengal, is vying for a roster spot. Times pro football reporter Mike Bires spoke to Butler about his linebacker corps before practice Saturday. Following are excerpts of the interview:
Q: What’s the overall state of affairs with your linebackers?
A: “There are several things going on right now. We got some young guys we need to find out about and we have to get some guys healthy. We need to get James Harrison back. We need to get Jason Worilds back. Thus far in camp, some of them have been good and some of them haven’t. But I will say this: We have some good young players, probably more so now than I’ve had in a long time.”
Q: For the first time since you were hired in 2002, you won’t have James Farrior at inside linebacker. What’s it like not having him around?
A: “In the 10 years he was here, he had always been kind of the face of the defense because of the way he played the game. He was a tough competitor. He loved to compete. His leadership is probably what's going to be missed more than anything. So yes, we will miss him. But we expect our guys to fill that void.”
Q: Are you talking about Larry Foote in particular?
A: “Larry Foote is capable of filling the void in terms of leadership and playing ability.”
Q: Any idea when you’ll get Harrison and Worilds off the PUP list?
A: "No, I wish I did. I’m not so worried about James because I know what he can do. But Jason hasn’t had the OTAs and mini-camps to develop. We didn’t have OTAS and mini-camp last year (due to the NFL labor impasse) and he missed them this year because he’s hurt. Last year, he really improved during the season, but he needs to build on that. That’s why I’m eager to get him back so he can hopefully pick up where he left off because I thought he left off at a pretty good place last year. When he does come back, that gives me confidence about our depth at outside linebacker.”
Q: What’s your take on Brandon Johnson (a seventh-year pro who started 19 games over the past four years with Cincinnati)?
A: “He’s doing pretty good right now, him and Stevenson Sylvester. We need to have some versatility in the group with guys who can play inside and outside. Brandon has been in the league for awhile, so he understands the concepts. He knows what people are trying to do in this league. It’s good to have that kind of experience.”
Q: Last week, coach Mike Tomlin gave LaMarr Woodley the day off as a proactive measure in hopes his hamstring injury from last year won’t resurface. Are you worried that Woodley might re-injure that hamstring?
A: “You hope that he’s over that but pulled muscles happen. The thing you try to do as a coach is make sure your guys are ready at the appropriate time. I know what LaMarr can do. The time he had off last week … he had a little nagging groin strain, and we didn’t want to turn that injury into a three-week injury. So we took him out for a day and limited the number of reps he had (the next few days).”
Q: In the past several years, Woodley, Harrison and Farrior each went to the Pro Bowl. Do you think Lawrence Timmons will ever get there?
A: “He will, if he stays healthy. In my opinion, he’s just as good as them. Lawrence is doing well. Hopefully, we can keep him inside this year unlike last year when he played on the outside due to injuries. If we can keep him inside, he’ll be very productive for us. He’s not a selfish guy. Had he stayed inside last year, he would have gotten more notoriety. He’d have been more productive.”
Now that y'all have mentioned it. It does seem like the Steelers have lost the touch on picking these 3-4 type LB's. Really have not found a significant one since Woodley and that was way back in 2007.
I can't comment on Worilds since for some reason I have never seen him it seems. I think I watched all the games too. All I know about him is he is always injured. How is this happening? What is he falling out of bed or what? Why don't they put those freaking bars up on the side of his bed, I mean wtf.
Fortunately, the Bengals have saved our butts again I think. No doubt Brandon Johnson can play the position. I would not be surprised to see the Steelers try to work him in on the other side too. I am another one who also thinks our depth at the OLB positions is zilch.