The best defensive player on the roster of the Pittsburgh Steelers right now is Lawrence Timmons, the Pro Bowl middle linebacker and most experienced of any starter on the defense.
Timmons was the first draft pick in the Mike Tomlin era when he was selected in the first round of the 2007 NFL draft. He rose from being a depth player behind James Farrior and Larry Foote to being one of the primary starters on the defense.
The 2015 preseason only saw the Steelers use Timmons in the Hall of Fame game against the Minnesota Vikings. Since then No. 94 has been sidelined nursing a turf-toe injury that has been a cause of worry to some who want to see the defense's best player on the field to help a very young crew.
Thankfully, Timmons appears to be on the mend. Him sitting out most of preseason seems to be more of a precautionary move than anything else, and he appears to be ready to play.
"I'm good now, full participation," said Timmons. "I could have went into the game, but just taking the necessary precautions. I am looking forward to it. "The season is the season and the preseason is the preseason. They are not together at all. There is nothing we can do but practice and go up there."
The Steelers' defense never saw a play where every starter was on the field all at the same time this preseason due to injuries, position battles and the normal preseason procedure of resting starters for the majority of games. But that doesn't matter to Timmons, he's most concerned with what the defense does this week going into the game, and then of course what happens Thursday night.
"What is going to be important is what we do. We have to play together as a unit. We have to be positive. We know what we have got. We are going to put it together and play ball."
With the sudden addition of Tom Brady to the starting lineup of the New England Patriots, Timmons knows the tall task the defense is up against this week as they prepare to go into Foxboro, Massachusetts and upset the defending champions; a task that the team has not accomplished since 2008, Timmons' sophomore season.
"They are a great franchise," said Timmons. "They come with it every year. We have to show them that we can win and it's going to be a big part of the start for our season. We need to get that win."
The defense cannot worry about the fact thta their offense will be missing three of their best players in Maurkice Pouncey, Le'Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, it has to go out and win battles at the line of scrimmage, bring pressure on Brady, win on third downs and force some turnovers in the process.
Timmons being 100-percent healthy and ready to go should help the Steelers cause as they try to "get that win" this Thursday night.