2016 South Side Questions: Was Timmons’ Performance Concerning?

The regular season is here, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are taking their practices at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, formerly known and still referred to as the ‘South Side’ facility of Heinz Field. While the real work is now upon us, there is plenty left to be done.

And there are plenty of questions left unanswered as well. The offseason is just really the beginning phase of the answer-seeking process, which is lasts all the way through the Super Bowl for teams fortunate enough to reach that far.

You can rest assured that we have the questions, and we will be monitoring the developments in the regular season and beyond looking for the answers as we look to evaluate the makeup of the Steelers as they wade through a regular season in which they are, at least supposed to be, among the favorites to win the Super Bowl.

Question: How concerned should the Steelers be about Lawrence Timmons’ season opener?

Steelers 10th-year inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons recorded eight tackles in the team’s season opener against the Redskins last night, but he probably missed close to as many as that number in a worry trend that has seen his tackling efficiency decline year after year.

The game actually started out fairly well for him, recording a tackle on the first play of the game after another defender missed the initial tackle, and two plays later coming up to break on the pass and force an incompletion.

But he missed a tackle on the very next throw on third down that was the difference between getting off the field and keeping the drive alive, though it eventually ended in a punt. At the end of the drive, the Steelers moved to their dime defense, and Timmons was taken off the field on third and 14.

On the following drive, he was left to cover the underneath routes on the right side of the defense, which allowed DeSean Jackson to come underneath and turn the corner on the 30-year-old linebacker for a big gain on a drive that led to a field goal.

It was, overall, a fairly sloppy and not very good game from the former Pro Bowler, who at times struggled to get off blocks and generally did not have much of an impact on the run game, at least not until the play had reached the secondary level.

His one stop on third and long on a somewhat ill-advised underneath throw to the tight end was perhaps the highlight of the game for Timmons, who is usually all over the stat sheet. He was the last defender who had a chance to stop the Redskins from the one-yard line on their lone touchdown.

It wasn’t all bad, of course, but the veteran was not a bright spot on the defense last night. He has been known to get off to slow starts in the past, but one wonders how many times he can bounce back from those slow starts.

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