May 8, 2008

We Are Waiting...

Another year, another badass linebacking corps. But with the seemingly exciting additions of linebackers Lawrence Timmons, Lamarr Woodley, and Bruce Davis comes a lot of pressure on Larry Foote and James Farrior's starting jobs. Everyone can pencil in James Harrison and Lamarr Woodley as the starting outside linebackers, but the real question is - who will be the starting inside linebackers?

James Farrior is the current captain of the Steelers defense, but he certainly isn't getting any younger. I have complete confidence in his football I.Q, but I have to start questioning his physical abilities as he gets along in years. Larry Foote has been a tackling machine, but his weakness lies in is his ability to rush the passer (only 3 sacks last year). And it seems like I'm not the only one who has noticed. In fact, word around mini-camp is that Timmons (aka "The Groin") has the greatest chance of cracking the starting lineup, replacing Foote.

Game after game the Steelers use a linebacker blitz, which involves both inside linebackers cris-crossing in hopes of either sacking the opponent's quarterback or disrupting a running play in the backfield. To me it makes sense that if this blitzing style is to continue and be effective, the Steelers will need someone who can wreak more havoc on opposing Offensive Lines than Foote/Farrior have over the past two seasons.

How does everyone feel about Lawrence Timmons? Are the linebackers to blame for our uncharacteristically ineffective pass rush last season? Or is the problem the Defensive Line's inability to eat up blockers? Where will Bruce Davis fit into the Steelers defensive equation?

In other Steelers news...
OFTOT will not be advertising in the 2009 super bowl.
There has been a Cedric Wilson sighting!!!


marc said...

I think that Timmons will be good, he has the speed and strength. One of his big things coming into the draft was that he was raw, he only started one year in college. Last year, he got hurt and missed all of camp and was learning a new system and new position. He has talent now we just have to see if he can adjust. I expect big things from him.

As for Davis, you can never have enough pass rushers. He can keep Harrison and Woodley fresh and as a backup. He also will be raw and learning a new system, but I think more of a role like Woodley had last year, just hopefully more playing time.

As an aside, I saw Timmons last year in Station Square, and he didn't seem that big. He seemed larger than me, but not by much. I'm only 6' 207 but it lists him as much larger 6'2 235. Maybe it was b/c it was midseason (right after he broke his hand)

Good post, Domski you're doing a good job.

domski43 said...

thanks for the positive feedback, good insight yourself

with that kind of size we should get you a tryout, the Steelers could use you on special teams. how are you at the oklahoma drill?

hopefully both Timmons Davis and can stay healthy and add depth to keep fresh legs on the field at all times.

i'm all for putting starters on special do you feel about putting woodley, timmons, davis on special teams together?

tobiathan said...

I'm a big fan of starters on STs. What goes on on STs is as important as anything else that happens during a game. And poor special teams play can lose NFL football games.

I say a starter is a starter, and should play the whole game in all facets until he gets tired or hurt.

Aside from cheating, using starters on STs was one of NE's big advantages. They rarely gave up good field position on punts or kickoffs. That matters a LOT in a game of inches.

As for Timmons: i remember that most of our best LBs played little to none their firsat year or two. Our defensive schemes are highly complex. It takes a long time to get the feel for them. And- It's important that young players be forced to earn a starting job. That's one system Pittsburgh uses which ensures a full commitment from it's draftees: having to earn a 1st team role means they respect their opurtunity.

Other teams just hand rookies and young guys great jobs, and often watch them flounce around and screw it up. Our Stelers make it an accomplishment to be a starter. I think that's why we so often have high productivity from less highly-touted draftees.

My gut says we might be in for a pleasant surprise with our young LBers this year. I sure hope i'm right about that.

Marc said...

I like using starters on ST to an extent, I don't want to see 350 lbs of Hampton chugging down the field. Well I do want to see that just for the humor in it, but we might be better not seeing that.

I think that we should use anyone that can do it out there, the best athletes have the best chance at making plays. People are going to get hurt, but you'll get hurt playing football no matter where you play, hell, the browns are getting hurt in the locker room with staft infections.

tobiathan said...

By "staff" infections do you mean that the Poop-Colored Ohioans(Browns) are giving eact other the shaft? Or "staff"? Or "staph"?

In case it's unclear: i AM making a not-so-subtle phallic allusion regarding the Cleve-town Poops.

I like to type "Poop". It makes me giggle.

tobiathan said...

My one big question about Pittsburgh special teams these last couple/few years is this:

Where is that traditional ST's "ace" we've always had? IE Chidi, Morey, Orpheus Roye(before he became a Poop-Colored-Ohioan), John Fiala, Jerry Olslavsky etc etc...

we've been missing the heralded Special Teams Maven that we in Pittsburgh practicallly invented. Before Cowher started talking up his STers, nobody in the NFL ever mention "special teams mavens". I'm not sure The Chin ever actually used the word "maven", but he did set the tone for teams signing special teams-only players like the above.

We've been missing that one outstanding suicide-guy since Silverback went first-team. At least he's shown some initiative by volunteering(yikes!) for kickoff duty in crucial games.

We need another ST stud, which is why i was praying we'd draft Owen "I broke another facemask again..." Schmitt.

But we, uh, didn't. Our only miss-step in the draft IMHO. Maybe Seattle will be kind enough to waive him and we can grab him in preseason. At the least the guy could fill several roles: RB, FB, TE, H-back, ST's, emergency punter, PR, SE.

How did we NOT get this guy who slipped to round 6?


And why haven't we traded for Matt Jones(WR, 6'6", former college QB, Jax Jag-o's) yet? He would be an asset on STs too.

marc said...

If we didn't draft Sweed I'd say pick up Jones when (if) he is cut but I wouldn't give up anything for him with the situation now.

I meant staph but I'm not real intelligent and I posted that earlyish. It also made you type poop and allowed me to type poop witch may or may not have made my day so far.

Also, I agree with needing a special teams ace. I think it takes a special mental position to run full speed into a wall of 250+ lb people, but if it means you're making 380k+ a year with potential for more I could justify that.