Notebook: Timmons to play in base defense

Mike Tomlin has an increased workload in mind for first-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons on Sunday night. That and much, much more in today's notebook.

PITTSBURGH – In his professional preseason debut, first-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons did a little pass-rushing, a little intermediary coverage and, on one occasion, a little downfield coverage as part of the third-down pass defense.

This week, Timmons will take on the full range of responsibilities associated with playing outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

"We wanted him just to get out there and play and not worry too much about situational things, assignment things," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We wanted to cut some of those things down so he could turn it loose and play, so we just played him in sub-package football. This week, we're going to take the training wheels off of him and he's going to play in all phases of the defense with the second group."

Timmons just turned 21 three months ago and came out of Florida State a year early after starting at outside linebacker for only one season. He then missed spring workouts with a groin injury, which was aggravated in training camp. Tomlin said that in spite of the missed time and inexperience, he's not worried about Timmons understanding his assignments.

"We are seeing him catch up, but that's pretty much what we expected. He's a sharp guy. He's a very talented guy. All he needed to do was get back out there on the field. He's made a lot of progress, but that's been required, and he's done a good job with that."

STARTING BACKFIELD

In four preseason games last year, Ben Roethlisberger threw only 22 passes. Through three preseason games this year, he's thrown 17 passes and will add a half's worth of work to that total Sunday night.

Both he and halfback Willie Parker are scheduled to play until halftime against the Philadelphia Eagles.

After Roethlisberger?

"We're going to play it by ear," Tomlin said. "We're probably going to play Charlie (Batch) a little bit, but we're going to get an opportunity to see some of the other guys. But that is our plan at this time. As you guys know, in the preseason, based on how things shake out, plans do change. But that is our tentative plan."

And after Parker?

"Beyond Willie we're going to continue to watch some guys compete," Tomlin said. "We have stiff competition, of course, at that position. There is a plan, but again we're going to let this thing play out a little bit and see how the game goes. Of course, (I'm) continuing to watch Dan (Kreider) at fullback; continuing to watch Carey Davis at fullback; John Kuhn at fullback; some ballcarriers, of course. You guys know the names, and we're just going to continue to do what we've done with those guys and watch them compete and watch them sort themselves out."

The passer ratings through three games are: Batch 127.9, Roethlisberger 103.6, Brian St. Pierre 76.7, and Bryan Randall 39.6.

The rushing leaders are: Gary Russell 121 (5.0 avg.), Davis 68 (9.7), Kevan Barlow 50 (2.8), Najeh Davenport 48 (3.7), Verron Haynes 38 (4.2), Larry Croom 34 (4.3), Parker 4 (1.0) and Kuhn 3 (1.5).

HEAT WAVE

Friday's practice was completed under another day of scorching heat and humidity. Tomlin was asked if the recent heat wave has pushed his training camp into the "miserable camp" status he'd earlier labeled Tampa Bay's camps under Jon Gruden.

"I like some of the surprises that Mother Nature brings. It's part of football," Tomlin said. "Had a hot week this week. Great. Told guys we weren't going to complain about it, we were going to deal with it and be productive and understand what we need to do when we're not on the field to prepare ourselves to do our best the next day, and that's get off your feet, re-hydrate yourself, and get ready to go. It may be a little hot in Arizona here in a little while when we go to Arizona."

The Steelers travel to Arizona to play the Ken Whisenhunt's Cardinals on Sept. 30. But don't the Cardinals play in a dome?

"Ha ha," Tomlin bellowed. "I think they're going to have the roof open for that one. Be a good bet."

INJURY FRONT

Only two Steelers are expected to miss the game. Tight end Jerame Tuman (back) is close to returning, but will be held out of Sunday's game. Rookie defensive end Derrick Jones returned from his calf injury on Monday, but missed practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and will also be held out.

"Other than that we're moving forward from a health standpoint," Tomlin said. "(Rookie guard/center Darnell) Stapleton is back and he's going to play this weekend."

FIRST CUTS

All NFL teams must cut down to 75 players by 4 p.m. Tuesday, and that includes all NFL Europe players. Previously, those players were exempt until the final cut. The Steelers will cut their 10 players on Monday.

CAN'T HEAR YOU

Tomlin fielded a question Friday about how his extended family was enjoying his first training camp as a coach. Tomlin brushed it off by saying: "I can't spend a bunch of time dwelling on whether or not they're having a great time or not. I'm sure that they are."

The reporter followed it up by asking if his family members have made any suggestions regarding personnel.

"I'm sure they have," Tomlin said. "But I don't remember it because I'm not listening."


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\nPITTSBURGH – In his professional preseason debut, first-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons did a little pass-rushing, a little intermediary coverage and, on one occasion, a little downfield coverage as part of the third-down pass defense.\r\n

This week, Timmons will take on the full range of responsibilities associated with playing outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers.\r\n

\"We wanted him just to get out there and play and not worry too much about situational things, assignment things,\" said Coach Mike Tomlin. \"We wanted to cut some of those things down so he could turn it loose and play, so we just played him in sub-package football. This week, we're going to take the training wheels off of him and he's going to play in all phases of the defense with the second group.\"\r\n

Timmons just turned 21 three months ago and came out of Florida State a year early after starting at outside linebacker for only one season. He then missed spring workouts with a groin injury, which was aggravated in training camp. Tomlin said that in spite of the missed time and inexperience, he's not worried about Timmons understanding his assignments.\r\n

\"We are seeing him catch up, but that's pretty much what we expected. He's a sharp guy. He's a very talented guy. All he needed to do was get back out there on the field. He's made a lot of progress, but that's been required, and he's done a good job with that.\"\r\n

STARTING BACKFIELD\r\n

In four preseason games last year, Ben Roethlisberger threw only 22 passes. Through three preseason games this year, he's thrown 17 passes and will add a half's worth of work to that total Sunday night. \r\n

Both he and halfback Willie Parker are scheduled to play until halftime against the Philadelphia Eagles.\r\n

After Roethlisberger?\r\n

\"We're going to play it by ear,\" Tomlin said. \"We're probably going to play Charlie (Batch) a little bit, but we're going to get an opportunity to see some of the other guys. But that is our plan at this time. As you guys know, in the preseason, based on how things shake out, plans do change. But that is our tentative plan.\"\r\n

And after Parker?\r\n

\"Beyond Willie we're going to continue to watch some guys compete,\" Tomlin said. \"We have stiff competition, of course, at that position. There is a plan, but again we're going to let this thing play out a little bit and see how the game goes. Of course, (I'm) continuing to watch Dan (Kreider) at fullback; continuing to watch Carey Davis at fullback; John Kuhn at fullback; some ballcarriers, of course. You guys know the names, and we're just going to continue to do what we've done with those guys and watch them compete and watch them sort themselves out.\"\r\n

The passer ratings through three games are: Batch 127.9, Roethlisberger 103.6, Brian St. Pierre 76.7, and Bryan Randall 39.6.\r\n

The rushing leaders are: Gary Russell 121 (5.0 avg.), Davis 68 (9.7), Kevan Barlow 50 (2.8), Najeh Davenport 48 (3.7), Verron Haynes 38 (4.2), Larry Croom 34 (4.3), Parker 4 (1.0) and Kuhn 3 (1.5).\r\n

HEAT WAVE\r\n

Friday's practice was completed under another day of scorching heat and humidity. Tomlin was asked if the recent heat wave has pushed his training camp into the \"miserable camp\" status he'd earlier labeled Tampa Bay's camps under Jon Gruden.\r\n

\"I like some of the surprises that Mother Nature brings. It's part of football,\" Tomlin said. \"Had a hot week this week. Great. Told guys we weren't going to complain about it, we were going to deal with it and be productive and understand what we need to do when we're not on the field to prepare ourselves to do our best the next day, and that's get off your feet, re-hydrate yourself, and get ready to go. It may be a little hot in Arizona here in a little while when we go to Arizona.\"\r\n

The Steelers travel to Arizona to play the Ken Whisenhunt's Cardinals on Sept. 30. But don't the Cardinals play in a dome?\r\n

\"Ha ha,\" Tomlin bellowed. \"I think they're going to have the roof open for that one. Be a good bet.\"\r\n

INJURY FRONT\r\n

Only two Steelers are expected to miss the game. Tight end Jerame Tuman (back) is close to returning, but will be held out of Sunday's game. Rookie defensive end Derrick Jones returned from his calf injury on Monday, but missed practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and will also be held out.\r\n

\"Other than that we're moving forward from a health standpoint,\" Tomlin said. \"(Rookie guard/center Darnell) Stapleton is back and he's going to play this weekend.\"\r\n

FIRST CUTS\r\n

All NFL teams must cut down to 75 players by 4 p.m. Tuesday, and that includes all NFL Europe players. Previously, those players were exempt until the final cut. The Steelers will cut their 10 players on Monday.\r\n

CAN'T HEAR YOU\r\n

Tomlin fielded a question Friday about how his extended family was enjoying his first training camp as a coach. Tomlin brushed it off by saying: \"I can't spend a bunch of time dwelling on whether or not they're having a great time or not. I'm sure that they are.\" \r\n

The reporter followed it up by asking if his family members have made any suggestions regarding personnel.\r\n

\"I'm sure they have,\" Tomlin said. \"But I don't remember it because I'm not listening.\"\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":" PITTSBURGH – In his professional preseason debut, first-round draft pick Lawrence Timmons did a little pass-rushing, a little intermediary coverage and, on one occasion, a little downfield coverage as part of the third-down pass defense.

This week, Timmons will take on the full range of responsibilities associated with playing outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

\"We wanted him just to get out there and play and not worry too much about situational things, assignment things,\" said Coach Mike Tomlin. \"We wanted to cut some of those things down so he could turn it loose and play, so we just played him in sub-package football. This week, we're going to take the training wheels off of him and he's going to play in all phases of the defense with the second group.\"

Timmons just turned 21 three months ago and came out of Florida State a year early after starting at outside linebacker for only one season. He then missed spring workouts with a groin injury, which was aggravated in training camp. Tomlin said that in spite of the missed time and inexperience, he's not worried about Timmons understanding his assignments.

\"We are seeing him catch up, but that's pretty much what we expected. He's a sharp guy. He's a very talented guy. All he needed to do was get back out there on the field. He's made a lot of progress, but that's been required, and he's done a good job with that.\"

In four preseason games last year, Ben Roethlisberger threw only 22 passes. Through three preseason games this year, he's thrown 17 passes and will add a half's worth of work to that total Sunday night.

Both he and halfback Willie Parker are scheduled to play until halftime against the Philadelphia Eagles.

After Roethlisberger?

\"We're going to play it by ear,\" Tomlin said. \"We're probably going to play Charlie (Batch) a little bit, but we're going to get an opportunity to see some of the other guys. But that is our plan at this time. As you guys know, in the preseason, based on how things shake out, plans do change. But that is our tentative plan.\"

And after Parker?

\"Beyond Willie we're going to continue to watch some guys compete,\" Tomlin said. \"We have stiff competition, of course, at that position. There is a plan, but again we're going to let this thing play out a little bit and see how the game goes. Of course, (I'm) continuing to watch Dan (Kreider) at fullback; continuing to watch Carey Davis at fullback; John Kuhn at fullback; some ballcarriers, of course. You guys know the names, and we're just going to continue to do what we've done with those guys and watch them compete and watch them sort themselves out.\"

The passer ratings through three games are: Batch 127.9, Roethlisberger 103.6, Brian St. Pierre 76.7, and Bryan Randall 39.6.

The rushing leaders are: Gary Russell 121 (5.0 avg.), Davis 68 (9.7), Kevan Barlow 50 (2.8), Najeh Davenport 48 (3.7), Verron Haynes 38 (4.2), Larry Croom 34 (4.3), Parker 4 (1.0) and Kuhn 3 (1.5).

Friday's practice was completed under another day of scorching heat and humidity. Tomlin was asked if the recent heat wave has pushed his training camp into the \"miserable camp\" status he'd earlier labeled Tampa Bay's camps under Jon Gruden.

\"I like some of the surprises that Mother Nature brings. It's part of football,\" Tomlin said. \"Had a hot week this week. Great. Told guys we weren't going to complain about it, we were going to deal with it and be productive and understand what we need to do when we're not on the field to prepare ourselves to do our best the next day, and that's get off your feet, re-hydrate yourself, and get ready to go. It may be a little hot in Arizona here in a little while when we go to Arizona.\"

The Steelers travel to Arizona to play the Ken Whisenhunt's Cardinals on Sept. 30. But don't the Cardinals play in a dome?

\"Ha ha,\" Tomlin bellowed. \"I think they're going to have the roof open for that one. Be a good bet.\"

Only two Steelers are expected to miss the game. Tight end Jerame Tuman (back) is close to returning, but will be held out of Sunday's game. Rookie defensive end Derrick Jones returned from his calf injury on Monday, but missed practices Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and will also be held out.

\"Other than that we're moving forward from a health standpoint,\" Tomlin said. \"(Rookie guard/center Darnell) Stapleton is back and he's going to play this weekend.\"

All NFL teams must cut down to 75 players by 4 p.m. Tuesday, and that includes all NFL Europe players. Previously, those players were exempt until the final cut. The Steelers will cut their 10 players on Monday.

Tomlin fielded a question Friday about how his extended family was enjoying his first training camp as a coach. Tomlin brushed it off by saying: \"I can't spend a bunch of time dwelling on whether or not they're having a great time or not. I'm sure that they are.\"

The reporter followed it up by asking if his family members have made any suggestions regarding personnel.

\"I'm sure they have,\" Tomlin said. \"But I don't remember it because I'm not listening.\" ","skipOnMobile":false,"media":[],"dateOverride":"2007-08-24T14:20:00","authorOverride":"Jim Wexell","role":"SteelCityInsider.com","isPremium":true,"isHotNews":false,"isRumor":false,"syndicationFlag":true,"isClassified":true,"hotNamesLinked":true,"storyImage":"[MEDIA:451837]","mainImage":{},"thumbnailImage":"[THUMBNAIL:451837]","heroImage":{},"authorImage":"","tags":[{"id":"345","name":"Florida State"},{"id":"9813","name":"Florida State - Football"},{"id":"182","name":"Pittsburgh Steelers"},{"id":"196","name":"Philadelphia 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