Jun 11, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94) gestures during drills in minicamp at the UPMC Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Pittsburgh Steelers: Is Lawrence Timmons the Steelers most important player?

When you look up and down the Pittsburgh Steelers’ roster for the 2013 season, you see a lot of nice pieces in place and still a lot of question marks at key positions.

However, what you don’t see enough of are “game changers.”

November 12, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons (94) intercepts a pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the overtime at Heinz Field. The Pittsburgh Steelers won 16-13 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is likely the only one on the offensive side of the ball and while safety Troy Polamalu used to have the game changer label attached to his name in the past, which may not necessarily be the case any longer.

That’s because that title now belongs to middle linebacker Lawrence Timmons.

As the days tick away until the Steelers report for training camp on July 26, you have to make the case that Timmons is not only the best player on the Steelers defense, but also the most important.

“I look at myself as a game-changer, and I try to make that a facet of my game,” Timmons told the Tribune Review’s Ralph N. Paulk. “I look forward to those opportunities, because I want to live up to those expectations.”

To live up to the high expectations that will be on him in 2013, Timmons will have to be pretty special after a very productive 2012 campaign.

Timmons had impressive numbers last season that included: 106 solo tackles, three interceptions and six sacks. But the most impressive part was his ability to make big plays when it mattered most. He was chosen as an alternate to the Pro Bowl, even though he likely turned in a season worthy of a starting spot.

While the Steelers’ defense was filled with players who didn’t make many big plays last season, Timmons proved to be the exception to the rule.

However 2013 is big not only for the Steelers defense to regain their ability to make big plays, but also for Timmons individually.

He has to not only build off of the success of last season, but also must take on more of a leadership role on the defense.

If he proves he can do that, Timmons should flourish into a big time playmaker in the middle of the Steelers defense and in the process he will become a legitimate game changer.

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