Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons had a key red zone interception in last Sunday’s win over the New York Giants and while we’ve already heard quarterback Eli Manning describe that play, defensive coordinator Keith Butler gave his thoughts this past week on what led to that turnover earlier this week during his interview with Missi Matthews on Steelers Nation Radio.
“He just read the quarterback,” Butler said of Timmons’ interception.” He did a good job of reading the quarterback. It is what we call a spot drop, kind of a picket fence down there. We’re playing zone and Eli tried to throw it over his head. He threw a ball that maybe should have been a little higher, maybe a little more outside and he tried to look everybody off, and he went to the guy and Lawrence was where he was supposed to be in the right place and made a really good catch and then took off with it.”
Butler was then asked if Timmons’ production is increasing over the course of the last few weeks and if so, if it’s a result of fellow inside linebacker Ryan Shazier being back on the field consistently after overcoming his early-season knee injury.
“I think he’s stepping up a little bit,” Butler told Matthews. “He needs to. I think as a player, when we get late in the season, when we get in the last fourth of the season like we are now, I think you’ve got to understand that there’s a sense of urgency that’s a little bit more than it was in the middle part of the season because we have to win. We can’t afford to lose and still have a chance to make it to the playoffs.”
Even though Timmons has been pulled off the field some so far this season, he’s still fourth on the team when it comes to defensive snaps played entering Week 14 and leads the team in total tackles (89). While Timmons is now 30 years old and in the final year of his current contract with the Steelers, the former first-round draft pick is showing no signs of being close to retirement.
“I feel like I’m doing OK. I feel like I’m doing well,” Timmons said, according to Dale Lolley of the Washington Observer Reporter. “I don’t try to be perfect but I try to give the guys something to go off of and be the guy that sets the tone for the defense.”
While Timmons’ future in Pittsburgh past this season is currently up in the air, I still like his chances of being re-signed during the offseason so that he can finish his career right where it started. For now, however, it’s important that he finishes strong in the Steelers final four regular season games. This Sunday the Steelers will play the Buffalo Bills on the road and Timmons knows he needs another productive game if the defense is going to shut down the league’s top-rated rushing attack.
“A guy like myself, it’s a big week for me because what they do is run the ball,” Timmons said. “My job is to stop the run and so I’m looking forward to it.”