Somebody posted a list that ranked all 106 guys on the rosters of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Arizona Cardinals. Coming in at #45 on that list is Lawrence Timmons. A full 23 spots below Larry Foote. Now lest I start bashing the list unnecessarily (it can't be fun or easy to make such a list; someone's bound to take umbrage), I'll stop with the list and just move on to my point - that Lawrence Timmons is the type of athlete that should allow our defense to fare much better against an offense like Arizona's that likes to spread things out with at least three capable play making WRs at all times (L. Fitzgerald, A. Boldin, S. Breaston).
In 2007 when we played the Patriots, Wes Welker had a field day. I'm sure I don't have to remind you of that painful afternoon. The 2nd half in particular was excruciatingly agonizing - like a root canal times 10 - as Brady looked Welker's way time and time again with uninterrupted success. This year against New England? Welker was limited to 4 catches for 30 yards before being sent to the showers by Ryan Clark. There was no Tom Brady of course, and there were many factors in play that explain why Welker, Moss and the usually high flying Patriots offense was kept in neutral, if not reverse, for most of the game that day.
One reason though was the presence of Lawrence Timmons in the middle of the field.
Outside of two divisional games against the lowly Bengals and Browns, Timmons had his best day in terms of tackles (5), and he had an INT that he took back 89 yards for a near pick-6.
I understand that fundamentally, spreading out a 3-4 defense is the best plan of attack most times, at least when the running game's not clicking. So color me on alert to see what Whisenhunt, Haley and the Cardinals offense come with on Sunday. But don't let the national media lull you into forgetting about a valuable X-factor that we have on our roster - a lighting fast, hard hitting intimidator in Lawrence Timmons that is vastly superior athletically than the ILBs we've had patrolling the middle of the field for most of this decade. Even in the case of Farrior and Foote - guys that I love and think the world of as players in Dick LeBeau's defense - they don't carry the same potential to make a game-changing disruptive play in the flat or in the middle of the field, or as stunting blitzers.
We will most certainly be leaning on the sound and solid play of our veterans Farrior and Foote against the Cardinals. But Lawrence Timmons should have ample opportunity to leave his mark on this football game. I think he will do just that and some of the talk and concern about this defense's vulnerability against spread out passing attacks will appropriately dim as Steelers fans begin to realize that this blossoming 22 year old talent has a decade of his best years still ahead of him.