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90-in-90: Miami Dolphins roster breakdowns, LB Lawrence Timmons

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90 Dolphins players in 90 articles. Let’s make sure we know our roster from top to bottom. It’d be a shame if ESPN knows us better.

Wild Card Round - Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Lawrence Timmons signed with the Miami Dolphins quickly during the free agency period, adding a veteran piece to the linebacking corps. A guy who had played his entire 10-year NFL career in the black-and-yellow confines of Terrible Towel country. The Pittsburgh Steelers allowed him to test the market, and kudos to the Dolphins front office for putting out a presentation/offer that allowed him to leave an organization that loved him.

The New Miami sure opens some doors, doesn’t it?

OK, so we won the guy’s services. Why did we do it? How does he improve what we’re doing on D? One of the difficult things about projecting Timmons into our scheme is he comes from a 10-year stint in a 3-4. Pittsburgh moved him around a bit, both playing MLB and coming off the edge to rush the passer. Does that make him our MLB or our SLB? I don’t think it’ll really matter, as it’ll be about snap percentage, not necessarily where he lines up: Timmons offers versatility.

Lawrence Timmons, 6’1”, 234

When we get to the game tape in a minute, you can tell Timmons plays the game with veteran savvy and nuance. The recently-turned 31 year old understands football, and any declining athleticism will easily be masked by his PhD in Football 101. He’s missed 2 games in his career. Yes, you read that right.

Game Tape - #94

Baits Eli into a throw. See how he pauses ever so slightly and opens up his hips like he’s going to sit down? Huge play in the red zone, made possible by Timmons veteran move.

Gorgeous disguise on the blitz, he doesn’t even flinch before the snap. Patiently awaits his fellow blitzer to cross in front of him, and he has the perfect alley to smashing Joe Flacco into the ground.

This is #1 of 2 GIF’s to demonstrate how he’ll help us from a “sound tackling” perspective. You can’t tell from this camera shot, but just before the snap, #94 starts shading out to Julian Edelman’s side. Wouldn’t you know it, it allows him to beat the timing of the LT’s block? He forces Edelman back inside, and snags the tackle as Edelman tries to plant and change directions.

GIF #2 of 2, I love this play if simply because how he “gets skinny” and gets inside the pulling TE lined up as a FB. He’s able to wrap up the ball carrier for a minimal game. 3-4 LB’s playing in the middle have a premium on sorting through traffic due to their different alignments and fewer assigned DL taking up blocks. In terms of tackling, he shows the ability to navigate traffic by shedding and eluding blocks.

Why He Might Succeed

Lawrence Timmons makes plays in a variety of ways. He has 35.5 sacks over his career, with 12 interceptions (43 pass deflections) and 13 forced fumbles. 114 tackles during the 2016 NFL regular season.

His middle name is Olajuwon, as in Hakeem Olajuwon, my favorite NBA player of all-time. Timmons mother was a big basketball fan. Yes, this strange coincidence makes me believe he’ll succeed. I didn’t say the entire post would be based in rationality. C’mon, you should know me by now.

Why He Might Not

Injuries. Missing 2 games in a 10-year NFL career playing LB seems the equivalent of taunting Lady Luck. However, the Miami Dolphins need him in their LB rotation, and only injury will derail his impact on our defense. Kiko Alonso, Lawrence Timmons, and Raekwon McMillan are the best LB’s on the roster, and I expect them to occupy the lion’s share of LB snaps.

Odds of Making Roster

99%. It’s not 100% if simply because I’m not truly convinced of anything in the NFL. Just ask Jeremy Maclin.

One thing I’ve neglected so far in this article is the tutelage he’ll bring to the film room and locker room. I believe he’ll provide great leadership. The guy occasionally slept on Mike Tomlin’s office room floor as a rookie. This is yet another “football first” guy for the Miami Dolphins.