The one constant for the Pittsburgh Steelers’ defense in recent years has been Lawrence Timmons at one of the inside linebacking positions.
Timmons is usually the ‘mack’ linebacker in Dick LeBeau’s 3-4 system which means he does a great deal of the scrapping and attacking from sideline to sideline.
The position opposite him is the ‘buck’ linebacker where Larry Foote entered the 2013 season as the starter.
By the end of the opening game against Tennessee, Foote was lost for the season with a biceps injury.
Rookie Vince Williams saw the most action this season following Foote’s injury and I think the jury is very much still out on the former Florida State Seminole. Because the Steelers were in a nickel or dime package so often, he was not on the field as often as Timmons. While Timmons is the constant, his counterpart is the question.
Larry Foote will be 34 years of age by the time the season begins later this summer. While he has designs on returning in 2014 there is no question the Steelers need to get younger and better at that position.
Several mock drafts have the Steelers taking Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley in the first round of May’s NFL Draft. That selection wouldn’t necessarily mean the end for Foote immediately, but it certainly would in the long-term.
With so much attention paid to the situation at outside linebacker and the secondary, we can’t forget about the situation at the ‘buck’ linebacker position. I’m sure the Steelers haven’t.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 730pm ET talking Steelers and is a blogger for ESPN 970 in Pittsburgh.