Pittsburgh Steelers second-year safety Shamarko Thomas didn’t play much during the second half of his rookie season after injuring an ankle in Week 10, but the playing time he received prior to that was invaluable.
“I’ve progressed a lot,” Thomas said after Wednesday’s OTA practice. “I just know the whole defense now. Last year I was just all over the place, just wanting to know my role. This year, I’m just settled in and I’m comfortable and can just play.”
Thomas was asked to line up all over the place last year in the Steelers defense and because of that, he now knows where everybody is supposed to be. He said he’s happy that the Steelers took that approach with him instead of having him just learn one position.
“It’s just like college. When you come in your freshman year, you don’t know the defense and the next year you settle in,” said Thomas. “You just fly around and make plays and that’s what I’m doing now. I don’t got to think no more. I don’t have to second guess myself. I just fly around and make plays.”
Even though he now better understands the defense, Thomas still admits that there are other areas of his game that he needs to work on and one of those is being more vocal.
“Just communication,” said the Syracuse product. “I was a quiet person last year because I really didn’t know the defense. Just communicate and being consistent.”
Thomas has a great mentor in Troy Polamalu and while the seasoned veteran chose once again to train in California in lieu of attending the OTA practices, the young safety still talks to him quite a bit.,
“I talk to him all of the time,” said Thomas of Polamalu. “He’s big on faith and just consistency and keep going in the playbook, and that’s what I’m doing.”