2016 Midseason Review: Safeties

We still have some time to kill before the Pittsburgh Steelers get back on the field, and their bye week happens to have fallen at a pretty appropriate time, so over the course of this week, we are going to bring you a sort of quick-hitter review of how the team has performed on a positional basis.

Position: Safeties

Mike Mitchell: Correct me if I’m wrong, but Mike Mitchell’s 2016 season seems fairly unremarkable so far. That’s not to say that he has played poorly, but his performance has lacked a significant impact. He hasn’t recorded any ‘splash’ plays through seven games and has gotten his hands on just two passes while recording 33 tackles.

Robert Golden: In his fifth season, Robert Golden entered the starting lineup full-time, but he has missed some time due to injury, including sitting out two starts. Golden has played an interesting role this year, taking over the Troy Polamalu assignment of playing a quasi-linebacker in Pittsburgh’s quarter defense, although they haven’t used that look much in recent weeks.

Jordan Dangerfield: When Golden was down, the team started Jordan Dangerfield in his place, and I am not going to ignore that fact, so I am listing him as the third safety on the depth chart in that sense, even if it might be Sean Davis that they decide to use when they use a three-safety defensive look, aka the quarter.

Truly, in the two games that he started, Dangerfield was one of the best players on the field, on either offense or defense, for either team. It would be fair to say that he impressed, although whether or not that would prove to be sustainable over a longer period would have to be evaluated.

Sean Davis: One of the Steelers’ prized rookies, the team immediately expanded his repertoire by drilling him in the slot, and when their choice for slot cornerback was lost for the year, they plugged him into that role to start the season.

When he got injured, however, they took him out, and it would seem that they re-evaluated his role a bit and started to scale things back again. He hasn’t played much since then, and has been passed up, largely taken out of the cornerback equation. Of course, his best playing days by far are ahead of him. Nothing to be alarmed about.

Shamarko Thomas: Say what you will about Shamarko Thomas, but he does have a role on this team, one that holds value. He is the Steelers’ best gunner on the punt coverage unit, and is one of their best special teams players overall. He has not been entrusted with much playing time on defense at all since his rookie season, however, and that doesn’t look to be changing any time soon.

Notes: Again, not a lot to note here. One thing I would say is perhaps watch out for the Steelers to try to get Davis more involved in the defense as the second half of the season progresses. Obviously they drafted him to become a starter.

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