Steelers S Shamarko Thomas Might Be Headed For Less Playing Time In 2014

Prior to him suffering an ankle injury in the Week 10 game last season against the Buffalo Bills, Pittsburgh Steelers safety Shamarko Thomas registered a whopping 193 snaps of playing time on defense. Once he was healthy, however, he never played another snap all season.

With less than 100 days to go until the start of the 2014 season, you have to wonder just how much playing time Thomas will get this year baring any injuries to starters Troy Polamalu and Mike Mitchell, who was signed during the offseason to replace Ryan Clark.

First, you have to remember that most of Thomas’ playing time as a rookie came with him lining up in the slot as he barely played any snaps as a traditional deep safety. In addition, had inside linebacker Larry Foote not been lost for the year to a biceps injury in the 2013 season-opener, you have to wonder if Thomas would have wound up seeing the field as much as he did.

With the Steelers drafting inside linebacker Ryan Shazier in the first-round of the 2014 NFL Draft and instantly inserting him as the starter during OTA practices, odds are good that defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will want to go back to using a traditional nickel as his sub package of choice to defend against the heavy use of “11” personnel this season.

The Steelers heavy use of the quarters package with dime personnel last season as a primary sub package seemed to be out of necessity thanks to Foote going down injured. While then-rookie inside linebacker Vince Williams gave it his all in 2013, the two-down linebacker label that he wore coming out of college was easy to see and it resulted in Polamalu having to play way too much inside the box.

One could argue that Thomas could see time as a nickel corner in 2014, but if so, which cornerback would you sit? William Gay? He was the Steelers best cornerback last year.

While Thomas certainly still appears to be the heir apparent to Polamalu, I really think he still needs more grooming and as a result, he might be hard pressed to see the amount of playing time that received during his rookie season if the starters ahead of him stay healthy.

What are your snap predictions for Thomas in 2014? More or less than 2013?

  • Matt Manzo

    Without any serious injuries I think he plays less than ’13.
    But I don’t think that’s a bad thing! I think he needs time to develop and u can’t go wrong learning under Polamalu!
    Maybe we score way more than before and he ends up playing a lot of kick offs?!!!

  • NimbusHex

    “William Gay? He was the Steelers best cornerback last year.”

    You can say this and throw out stats that support this all you want, I will never believe it.

  • Jason White

    It seems hard for a lot of people to believe it but it is true. He was the best Steelers corner and most consistent one especially his play in the slot.

  • Aric Brown


  • Chris Cain

    I would play him over William Gay as the slot corner.. Shamarko is faster, more physical & has more upside as player then William Gay.

  • Paddy

    As long as Troy is healthy, Thomas sits out

  • Steve

    Shark will get between 250-300 snaps IMO. One of our DB’s will get hurt and Shark is the first man off the bench.


    It’s true that it is your opinion. Cortez played better down the stretch.

  • Jason White

    Note the word consistent in my comment. William Gay showed up all year while Cortez was hampered by an injury that made him start the season slow. I’m not protesting for William Gay to make the probowl. I’m just stating he played the best at a more consistent level. With that said the Steelers need to lock Cortez Allen up now because he is the best corner they have with the most upside and the cornerback position gets even more shakey after 2014

  • Benjamin Simpson

    I believe he meant the Steelers best nickel back. Otherwise the Steelers 3rd best cornerback..

  • Ike Evans


  • Nolrog

    I agree. Out of all the DBs, Troy, Mitchell, Ike, and Cortez, I think there’s plenty of room for playing time.

  • Mike Frantz

    I agree that, barring injury, he gets less time in 2014. WHich is exactly how it should be. ON a team with quality depth, you will have good young players sitting on the bench sometimes.

  • Shea Fahr

    Let me ask you this. If you believe Gay was not the best CB on the Steelers Roster last year, WHO would you say was? Just asking…

  • Jollyrob68

    Carmel Lake mentioned him when he talked about Defense & speed. He’s playing a lot..

  • PoKey21

    I think injury will press the issue. I know no one wants to hear it but Troy has only competed in every game of the season only 3 times in the last 8 years. And while he’s not old it stands to reason that he might get a little nicked up and miss a game or 2 or god forbid worse. Either or I think shark will see some action whether it be spot starts or hopefully some mop up duty. Although the last few years it seems mop up duty is a foreign word to this team the last few years.

  • shawn

    That is the TRUEST statement I’ve heard !!!

  • shawn

    Ditto what Wingy said … his play does not back up his ability … only time before he reverts back to getting toasted !

  • shawn

    I Like Shamarko much better than Gay … that said he is still young so if there are no serious injuries to our secondary… i would like to see them work him in with Gay as the nickel back and by mid to late season see him take over that role from Gay … and see if thats his future or as a replacement for Troy … for me either way is a Win … as I see them both as starting positions !

  • joed32

    After one session of OTAs there is a long way to go before the depth chart is set. It should be expected that Allen would start out ahead of Thomas since that’s how they ended last year. Now with two more sessions of OTAs, Mini camp, Training camp and 4 preseason games left to go it’s Thomas’ chance to show what he can do.

  • Jacque Strappe

    100% truth, but it’s the media dead period. Gotta write about something.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I’ve been saying that for ages. Don’t wait until he costs double. Do it now!

  • joed32

    Sure, and it’s fun to try to guess what’s going to happen, just not to take it too seriously yet.

  • charles

    Like they did the Woodhead!?!?

  • charles

    Thomas got abused by Brady and the Gronk, that was (imo) why it is difficult to support his play, too small to cover a lot of TEs.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    I just cannot see how he will see the field unless there is an injury. I have to go with lower snaps but I do hope they find a few for him during the season