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Dick LeBeau Thinks Rookie Safety Shamarko Thomas Is Right On Schedule


In the win this past Sunday over the Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers rookie safety Shamarko Thomas was the field for 50 of the 65 defensive snaps and that of course was a season-high for him. Following Thursday's practice, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau explained why the Syracuse product played so much.

"Probably, because Baltimore went all three wide receivers pretty much," said LeBeau. "They probably didn’t have ten snaps of regular or extra tight end guys. Shamarko is in that package. He’ll play every snap if that’s what we get."

Thomas lined up all over the place in the game and that included him playing in the slot as well as a deep safety, which is something we haven't seen a lot of so far this season. The rookie registered six total tackles in the game to go along with his one special teams tackle and LeBeau critiqued his performance on Thursday.

"I think he’s growing. He’s a physical guy," said LeBeau. "That’s what we liked about him. He’s getting more comfortable in the defense and you’re seeing some of that physicality show up. He made several really strong plays, and I’d say he’s on schedule."

Thomas was targeted four times in the game and all four were completed. However, those four receptions only amounted to 19 total yards with 10 of them coming after the catch. Against the run, Thomas really played well and three of the run tackles he was in on resulted in a total of four yards gained.

There were a few times that Thomas looked like he might have been out of position and he failed to play through the whistle on a play deep in the Steelers own end, but that is likely to be expected from a rookie. In case you forgot, fellow safety Troy Polamalu made similar mistakes during his rookie season.

The Steelers are slowly digging themselves out of the 0-4 hole they dug themselves to start the season and it is refreshing to see them do it with several rookies contributing heavily on defense. Thomas is going to be just fine and the trust that LeBeau already has in him is proof of that.

"He’s a young player but I don’t worry about him when he’s in there. I know he’s going to go wrong on some plays because he is new, but he’s going to be a good football player," he said.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Kelly A

    The 2013 Steelers Draft class I believe will go down at one of the best this team has ever had. Almost each player drafted is making some type of contribution to the team (ie: Jarvis Jones, Markus Wheaton, Vince Williams). I can see this draft class bringing this team a Superbowl; if not the year, very, very soon.

  • steeltown

    I saw a gif of Polamalu and Thomas on a run play against the Ravens..in the play Polamalu takes on the OG while Shark takes on a TE (I think Dallas Clark) undersized and all they both physically attack their opponent and simultaneously shed their blocks to tackle the RB at the same time for little or no gain. They looked like twins out there on the play.. it was a thing of beauty

  • Jonas

    Liked this gif/play, too. Worilds also did a great job forcing the run to the inside

  • Luke Shabro

    I’m wondering if Shark or Robert Golden will replace Ryan Clark next year. I doubt they re-sign Clark and I highly doubt they don’t re-sign Clark AND cut Troy. I don’t see them letting a second year and third year safety replace the best safety tandem we’ve had since Hope/Polamalu.

  • steeltown

    No way Polamalu is gone next year, maybe he’s asked to take a paycut but he still plays a HIGH level when healthy and actually I wouldn’t be surprised to see Clark re-signed in the offseason (1yr modest vet deal) but I would assume he’ll be phased out if that happens

  • Luke Shabro

    I do not miss the days of Tyrone Carter, Antonio Smith and Ryan Mundy. We may not have O line depth or much corner depth but at least I feel very comfortable with our backup safetys right now.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Not sure why Golden is not getting much run…I think at this point it’s safe to say Troy and Thomas will be back there next yr…my guess is Troy moves to FS.

  • ATL96STEELER

    It’s certainly something to build on…imo they really need to look hard @ Nix, NT from ND in this draft.

  • Luke Shabro

    I know they’re interchangeable a lot in LeBeau’s system right now but Troy plays up in the box a LOT

  • Dr. Doom

    I really like Thomas, reminds me a lot of Bob Sanders just a violent player.

  • mlc43

    If we take Nix in the first, what will we do about that glaring need we have for a left OT?

  • Mike Carroll

    I like the idea of taking a NT high in the draft if they think the right one is available. I’d be happy if they thought Nix was that player and took him.

  • cencalsteeler

    LeBeau should have both Troy and Shark back there in the Raider game as much as he did in the Ravens game. We need to contain Pryor and keep him from running the ball against us.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Boy…good point, but a tough call…assuming we get some traction here on this season, probably picking 15 to 18…OTs on my radar is Richardson from TN, and you have the FSU kid, and one other OT kind of on the 2nd tier on the 1st round.

    Probably would boil down to the grade I guess. After spending a recent #1 on a G and #2 on OT (I know what it lookslike, but do we reaalllyyy know Adams can’t play LT yet)

  • ATL96STEELER

    True, there is always some gamble in the draft, but I’m looking at Poe from KC, and seeing his impact…he wasn’t that guy in college, just a freak of an athlete. Right now imo we’re playing a 3-4 with 4-3 personnel with #90 @ NT.

  • Mike Carroll

    I don’t see Clark taking a veteran min type deal to hang around as a backup (or soon to be backup player). I think they go with Troy, Shark and draft another safety.

  • steeltown

    Im not sure he’s going to have much of a choice

    Im not saying he’ll be re-signed to play backup safety, just saying if he’s re-signed he may not end the season as the unquestioned starter

  • Mike Carroll

    I agree. I like Nix and think he would be great fit scheme wise. I’m just saying a first round NT (as Nix is projected) needs to be a special player. Nix could be and I’d love to know what the Steelers think about him.

  • ATL96STEELER

    I agree with you on special, and I can’t say for certain Nix is the next Biscuit.

    Special…I don’t think we’ll get him but Evans, WR from TXAM is a beast…or if they want to keep the small WRs…get Ben another TE…the kid Amaro from TX Tech and Ebron from NC.

  • ATL96STEELER

    Don’t know if they’re calling it nickel or what, but LeBeau did say the BAL OFC 3 WR pkg dictated Thomas snap count last week…I think we’ll see him vs OAK, but Troy in the box, I think we can count on.

  • PA2AK

    Not sure why there is a down vote…just a guys prediction. Given their production throughout the class, it could very well be one of the best. He didn’t say THE best (be hard pressed to find another draft that had what, 5 of 6 go to the HOF?!). Anyways, I agree…only pic that seems to have much doubt is Landry and where they drafted him. Also, not much being heard from Hawthorne. Still, Jarvis, Bell, Shamarko, Wheaton, Williams….just hope they stay healthy and don’t hit a ceiling.

  • PA2AK

    Could really use another few drafts even half as solid.

  • gevins

    I think a TE has to be high on the list.

  • Mike Carroll

    Oh, I agree Clark won’t have much choice about any potential offer from the Steelers. But, he could have a TV deal that is more desirable to him.

  • steeltown

    True

  • HopalongCassidy

    I like the wrinkle with Polamalu playing like a linebacker. It really helps in coverage and doesn’t give up too much on the run. Of course, this is all predicated on whether Troy doesn’t get injured in the process.

  • Dr. Doom

    That will be Timmons Job #1 Spy

  • mlc43

    Yea, I’m pretty much sold that Adams isn’t our left OT of the future. I’m just hoping he can turn into a decent right OT. Left OT is the biggest priority we should have, IMO. Doesn’t mean I’m right, though. I just feel we aren’t going to have many more years with Ben at this rate.

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