So far during the preseason, Pittsburgh Steelers safeties Mike Mitchell and Shamarko Thomas have played all of 22 snaps together. Those snaps came a few weeks ago in the game against the Green Bay Packers. During his Tuesday press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if he’s concerned about the lack of playing time the two have had together so far during the preseason.
“It’s concerning, but what happens in stadiums and what happens on the practice field are different, but at the same time, those guys have had more work in practice settings than they have in game settings,” said Tomlin. “Obviously, Mike [Mitchell] is no rookie. He’s an established guy, he’s a professional, he’s been around this thing. We’ll have some days leading up to the game, some quality-focused practice days and I expect those guys to utilize them and be above-the-line when we step into the stadium a few Thursdays from now.”
So, will Thomas and Mitchell get the opportunity to play together Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Carolina Panthers?
“No they will not,” said Tomlin.
While Thomas will likely see some playing time Thursday night, it sounds like the ankle injury that Mitchell suffered during practice last week will keep him sidelined a second consecutive game. That will likely result in Will Allen playing alongside Thomas until both make early exits.
The Steelers defense has struggled quite a bit so far during the preseason and it’s probably not too surprising being as they’ve yet to have all of their projected starters on the field together for one single snap. Not one.
In addition to Mitchell likely being sidelined Thursday night, you can probably expect linebacker Lawrence Timmons and defensive end Stephon Tuitt to miss the game as well.