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Thread: Shamarko Thomas learning, biding his time

  1. #1
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    Shamarko Thomas learning, biding his time

    PITTSBURGH -- Shamarko Thomas has gone from playing extensively as a third safety in the Pittsburgh Steelers' quarter defense to playing sparingly if at all aside from special teams.

    All 16 snaps that Thomas logged in the Steelers’ 30-20 win against the Bengals last Sunday night came on special teams.

    Thomas will likely finish his rookie season in a reduced role because of several factors, but the drop in playing time has left the fourth-round draft pick anything but discouraged.

    “It’s part of the learning process,” Thomas said. “Next year I’m going to be more comfortable. Offseason I’m going to go real hard, bust my butt and come even harder.”

    The Steelers will need him to do all of the above.

    This could be the final season for both starting safeties unless Troy Polamalu agrees to a pay cut. Even if Polamalu comes back the Steelers still need to get younger at safety, something they deemed a top priority as far back as last April.

    The Steelers traded a 2014 third-round pick to the Browns so they could add another fourth-round pick to draft Thomas, and it is pretty rare to see them make that kind of deal.

    That is why Thomas' development during the offseason will be critical for a team that is facing a lot of turnover on defense.

    “He’s going to hopefully be the future here,” reserve safety Will Allen said. “He’s explosive, has great instincts, and it’s about really helping him learn how to be a professional and play this game at a high level.”

    Allen is a major reason why Thomas’ on-the-job training has been cut significantly.

    Taking advantage of opening provided by an injury -- Thomas suffered a high-ankle sprain that sidelined him for two games last month -- Allen has played well as an extra safety, and his interception helped preserve the Steelers’ 37-27 win against the Lions on Nov. 17.

    Allen has stayed on as the third safety, but he has also become another mentor to Thomas since re-signing with the Steelers in early October.

    Allen, Polamalu and Ryan Clark have more than 30 years of NFL experience among them, and Thomas has tried to absorb everything he can from the trio.

    “Will’s a great player, he’s been in the league for 10 years and I’ve got him, Ryan and Troy, so it’s a great learning process,” Thomas said. “I’m always trying to get in their ear, try to talk to them on the side. Everybody says rookies have to come in slow, but ... I feel like I did alright. I could have done better, made more plays on special teams, but you learn from it and get better next season.”

    2017 Mock

    1. T.J Watt, OLB/DE, Wisconsin - will be a huge mistake if available and we pass

    2. Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clemson

    3. Josh Jones, S, N.C. State

    3. Adam Shaheen, TE, Ashland

    4. Trey Hendrickson, DE, Florida Atlantic

    5. Josh Reynolds, WR, Texas A&M

    6. Barry Sanders, RB, Oklahoma State (How can you go wrong with that name, however the sample size is so small that his dad may be better even in his 50's)

    7. Alec Torgersen, QB, Pennsylvania

  2. #2
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    “It’s part of the learning process,” Thomas said.
    “I’m always trying to get in their ear, try to talk to them on the side.
    What a great attitude this kid has.

  3. #3

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    Pittsburgh Steelers: Is Shamarko Thomas ready for a big role in 2014?

    BY MATT SHETLER - FEB 10TH, 2014

    As the Pittsburgh Steelers prepare for a very important offseason, they very well could target a safety in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft or via free agency.

    If they don’t, all eyes will be on second-year pro Shamarko Thomas, who will be looking at a big role in the Steelers defense next season.

    The only question to ask is whether he is ready?

    Thomas could be a serious candidate to have a breakout season in 2014. With Ryan Clark not likely to return, Thomas is more than likely going to have to step up in a major fashion.

    In Thomas’ rookie year, the Steelers’ coaching staff wanted to get the 2013 fourth-round pick on the field as much as they could, but really didn’t find a way to put him into positions to succeed.

    However, he is a guy the franchise gave up a 2014 third-round pick for so the Steelers are very high on the Syracuse product.

    As a rookie, Thomas displayed the speed and physicality that give you hope that he will be a competent NFL safety for a long time to come.

    Unfortunately he had to play as a nickel corner for most of his rookie campaign and was often beat in man coverage by bigger wide receivers and tight ends. That shouldn’t be an issue in 2014 for Thomas as he should be stepping into a starting role at safety, which is much more in his comfort zone as he showed the knack to be very good at reading plays and getting to the ball during camp.

    If he does emerge as a starting safety, there will be a lot of pressure on the youngster as often it will be in a single-high look with Troy Polamalu playing around the line of scrimmage.

    That’s also not an ideal situation for Thomas, but it is something he is much more suited for as he should be able to use that hard-hitting ability far more often.

    The biggest reason to get excited about Thomas is his ability to tackle, something he was very good at in college.

    That didn’t parlay to his freshman NFL campaign as Thomas recorded only 29 stops, but that is an area I feel he can excel at next season – which will be a big bonus for the Steelers defense.

    If Thomas can show he is ready for a major role, I look at him to be a candidate for a major breakout in 2014. If he’s not ready, the Steelers defense could be in major trouble.


  4. #4

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    Thomas should be a great SS. The problem is they will try to get him an Troy on the field at the same time. Thomas is a guy you want creeping in the box. He is an enforcer. He isn't a centerfielder.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn View Post
    Thomas should be a great SS. The problem is they will try to get him an Troy on the field at the same time. Thomas is a guy you want creeping in the box. He is an enforcer. He isn't a centerfielder.
    Lebeau has historically used our Ss interchangeably prior to this past season. No reason they couldn't continue that trend with Troy and Shark. Although, if we're gonna play a lot with a singe high safety, Golden's the guy that should be at the top of the depth chart. He can play the ball in the air. I think Golden and Shark are gonna be a good duo in the future.

  6. #6
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    been following Shamarko on Instagram...his workouts are freaking insane, not human some of the things he's able to do. Can't wait to see him on the field this year.
    ours is not to wonder why just invert and multiply...


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