The Miami Dolphins have been fairly systematic with their approach to free agency this offseason, looking to keep their own players while targeting players that fit their offensive or defensive system, while not looking to make a huge splash on the “big name.” The team is looking to fill holes in the roster, upgrading where possible, and making sure they are in the best possible position for the Draft when it arrives in April.
On player who should come in and fill one of those holes, likely as the starting middle linebacker, is former Pittsburgh Steelers player Lawrence Timmons. Heading into his 11th season in the league, the one-time Pro Bowl selection comes to Miami after a 2016 season in which he accounted for 114 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, five passes defensed, and one forced fumble, starting all 16 games for the Steelers.
He has started all 16 games for Pittsburgh in every seasons since 2011, and in 2010 he played in all 16 games, starting 15. He brings the durability the Miami linebackers did not have last year.
Why was Timmons available for the Dolphins this offseason? I asked Jeff Hartman from Behind the Steel Curtain for an insider look at Timmons:
The Miami Dolphins getting Lawrence Timmons should be a move which is celebrated among the Dolphins faithful, but the reality of the situation should also be noted.
Timmons thrives in run support, and still has the agility to run down the ball carrier. He is great at rushing the passer from the interior, and can actually rush off the edge as well. Since becoming the entrenched starter, Timmons has been a tackling machine. The players call him the real life hit stick for a reason.
However, for as good as Timmons is as a tackler, and in run support, he struggles in pass coverage. The more athletic and active tight ends become, the more vulnerable Timmons has become. Father time never loses a battle, despite what James Harrison thinks, and Timmons isn't a spring chicken anymore. He can still cover underneath, but running with receivers and tight ends is not something fans will want to see often.
Overall, the Dolphins are getting an extremely intelligent player, hard worker, and a tough as nails tackler. His positives far outweigh the negatives in his game, even after 10 years in the league.
Hartman seems to give a positive outlook on the player Miami is receiving, and the BTSC reaction to Miami signing Timmons seems to echo those sentiments:
Miami needs the solid tackler in the middle of the field to provide support against the run. That is exactly what Timmons will bring. The team will be looking to Kiko Alonso and other linebackers to provide coverage on tight ends and running backs. There are concerns there, but there are ways to mask the weakness in Timmons’ game, and they are not bad enough that Miami fans should not be excited about the addition - as Hartman said at the beginning of his write up.