LATROBE, Pa. (93-7 THE FAN) — Timing is everything for Steelers rookie safety Shamarko Thomas, who is still trying to work on his own timing, yet couldn’t have come at a better time, considering the injuries to the team’s pass defense.
Thomas, a 2013 fourth-round draftee, recently spoke with Dale Grdnic in a special piece for The (Syracuse) Post-Standard, admitting to some growing pains in his first NFL training camp.
“I want to help this football team this season. And the best way to do that is to learn as much as possible so you can fly around on defense and not think about it too much. You have to play fast and smart in this league,” he told the newspaper.
“He’s played all right, but he’s a rookie,” All-Pro safety Troy Polamalu said. “He has a lot to learn. So he’ll make some mistakes, but it’s what he does after that. Does he let it bother him or does he get past it, move on and never make that mistake again? I think Shamarko’s going to be that type of player, a real good player for us.”
Carnell Lake was one of the premier defensive backs in Steeler history. If Thomas can impress him in his current role as the team’s secondary coach, he’ll make the team in a place where it could certainly use extra bodies at the moment.
Defensive backs Cortez Allen, Terry Hawthorne, DeMarcus Van Dyke are all recovering from lower-body injuries, and cornerback Curtis Brown recently came up lame with an ankle injury.
Thomas, in the meantime, has been used as a sixth DB in the Steelers’ dime (extra pass protection provided by two extra defensive backs) package.
“Shamarko’s athletic and very fast,” Lake said. “He’s coming along slowly, but he’s getting there. We expect a lot from him.”
The man Steeler fans have taken to calling “Sharknado” cracked the First Team All-Big East squad last year while leading the Orange with 85 total tackles and contributing 3.5 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, two interceptions, and one sack.
Click here to read the complete story by Grdnic.
The Steelers open their preseason Saturday at 7:30 against the New York Giants at Heinz Field on KDKA-TV. They break camp the following Saturday.