I thought Timmons did some things very well last night. He made a nice, hard tackle in the open field on a kickoff return (I'm not sure I saw him stick anyone on special teams last year). He continues to show amazing closing speed and a better wilingness to be physical. He appears to understand the defense appreciably better. On a few plays, he moved down from inside linebacker to contain plays on the outside after OLBs rushed up the field. When unblocked, he filled holes adequately and wrapped up ball carriers.
However, it is very disturbing to watch his initial reaction to plays. He is often painfully late reacting to plays (sometimes the last player on the field to move - and often his first step his wrong) allowing slowfooted offensive linemen to get out and seal him easily. When meeting a fullback or guard, he is usually manhandled (not simply pushed back, he is eliminated from the play). A good running team will exploit him and run directly at him.
Finally, for a man who is certainly not an intellectual, I feel the Steelers continue to mismanage him. During his rookie campaign they changed his position late in the preseason, virtually assuring that he'd have no chance to make an immediate impact. This year, they decided that he'd compete with Foote. Then, they said that he may not win the job with Foote, but he'd be a third down specialist. But in the Bills game, Timmons was not out with the first team on any of the key 3rd down passing situations. He certainly should have been. He desperately needs the reps with the first team 3rd down specialists so that he can learn and be properly assessed. Recently, I read that he could be the top backup at all four linebacker positions. Am I missing something? First he's an outside linebacker, then an inside linebacker, then a third down specialist, then a swing backup. This is not how you develop a player that has trouble with the playbook (especially when a defense is as complex as the Steelers'). Attention coaching staff, choose a role for the kid and stick with it. Timmons needs a little stability and some reps with the big boys.