Tag Archives: Shamarko Thomas

Pittsburgh’s Goin’ to the Super Bowl: Safety in Numbers


Via Steelers.com

The safety position was one of the few pretty much completely unaffected by free agency. The Steelers didn’t lose (or not re-sign) anyone who had played any significant amount of snaps at the position.

The possible exception is Shamarko Thomas, once considered the heir apparent to Troy Polamalu but ultimately ineffective. But Thomas has played essentially no snaps at safety in the past year—he played six, to be precise. While he was a valuable special teamer when healthy, he missed a lot of time last year with injuries—four weeks with a groin injury and four weeks due to concussion. It seems unlikely he will be back in the Black and Gold. Read more

Fifth Quarter Report: 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers—Team Overview

Tom Brady, Bud Dupree

via Steelers.com

by Ivan Cole 

The biggest question to be answered this past season was whether the Pittsburgh Steelers were, indeed, Super Bowl contenders. The answer is contained in the title of this piece. To make it into the fifth quarter of an NFL season, the playoffs, is always a good thing. They came within 60 minutes of making it to the big game.

There will certainly be those who will insist that this makes all the difference and is not good enough. But you won’t hear that argument in this space. It could be said that the fragility of Le’Veon Bell’s groin may have been the difference. Close enough.

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5 Smoldering Questions: Post-Thanksgiving, Pre-Giants


via Steelers.com

by Hombre de Acero

For the first time in 66 years the Steelers snapped their Thanksgiving curse. They did so in authoritative fashion, to the tune of a 28 to 7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. Two convincing wins in five days, albeit over struggling teams, has led some to suggest that the Steelers have turned a corner, an important one.

The New York Giants figure to offer stiffer test this week at Heinz Field.  But before taking on that challenge, this corner of Steelers Nation must first answer 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers. Read more

Paying It Forward: Steelers Who Are Making the World a Better Place


via Steelers.com—the annual Pouncey turkey giveaway at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank

In yesterday’s 5 Smoldering QuestionsHombre de Acero added the following as a sort of bonus question:

Hopefully, all of you have non-football things to be thankful for, and those are far more important than anything that happens on the gridiron.

But who or what about the 2016 Steelers are you thankful for?

I didn’t answer that question because as it happens I’d already decided that was going to more or less be my post for today. Here goes: Read more

Scouting for Steelers: Defensive Backs II

Continuing with yesterday’s posthere is the information for the second half play. But first, here are the DB snap counts, from Dave Bryan of Steelers Depot:

  • Montel Garner: 41 defensive snaps, 3 ST snaps
  • Sean Davis: 40 defensive snaps, 10 ST snaps
  • Kevin White: 32 defensive snaps, 10 ST snaps
  • Al-Hajj Shabazz: 32 defensive snaps, 7 ST snaps
  • Shamarko Thomas: 31 defensive snaps, 11 ST snaps
  • Donald Washington: 30 defensive snaps, 7 ST snaps
  • Doran Grant: 26 defensive snaps, 5 ST snaps
  • Jordan Dangerfield: 15 defensive snaps, 12 ST snaps
  • Jacob Hagen: 15 defensive snaps, 7 ST snaps
  • Robert Golden: 15 defensive snaps, 2 ST snaps
  • Mike Mitchell: 15 defensive snaps
  • William Gay: 15 defensive snaps
  • Ross Cockrell: 14 defensive snaps
  • Ray Vinopal: 12 defensive snaps, 4 ST snaps
  • Julian Whigham: 12 defensive snaps, 2 ST snaps

That’s a lot of defensive backs. It’s easy to see who the Steelers are envisioning as starters among the vets. And speaking of veteran players, one question I had, since I barely knew some of these names, is who is a vet and who’s a newbie. The answers are:

  • Donald Washington: 4 years
  • Doran Grant: 2 years (sort of)
  • Jordan Dangerfield: 1 year
  • Montel Garner: 1 year
  • Jacob Hagen: 1 year
  • Al-Hajj Shabazz: 1 year
  • Ray Vinopal: 1 year
  • Kevin White: 1 year
  • Julian Whigham: Rookie

Read more

Scouting for Steelers: Defensive Backs

via Steelers.com

I’m focusing on the defense because I’m hoping that most of what we’ve seen from the offense isn’t what we will be seeing with the actual first team on the field. And since the defensive backs are probably the position group that has generated the most angst (I’m guessing TE is a distant second) it’s worth having a look.

As I discovered, it can be pretty hard to figure out who lined up where and who was actually on the field. So I’m just going to approach the group as a whole, making some assumptions about who was likely to have been playing, based upon when the front-line starters mostly packed it in.

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Random Post-Training Camp Observations: The Lombardi in August


Charles LeClaire photo

by Ivan Cole

Some of us Steelers Nation folk who live in the Washington DC metro diaspora have found much amusement over the years as we have watched Washington fans celebrate capturing the Vince Lombardi Trophy in March. They have declared all sort of aggressive maneuvers, thus assuring themselves possession of that silver trophy and ignoring certain obvious realities. I would quickly add that followers of other teams do it as well. Many of the chronically clueless of Steelers Nation often lament the fact that Pittsburgh seems relatively uninterested in this sort of exercise.

But before we pat ourselves on the back for our wisdom, we might meditate upon the habit of doing something very similar in July/August. They don’t give out the Lombardi in August either. Or in September for that matter. There are things such as key injuries to concern ourselves about in preseason and the first quarter or so of the regular season, but for me the story doesn’t really begin until sometime around Columbus Day. And there is still plenty of mystery to deal with even then usually. So, while there are interesting issues afoot, forgive my relative lack of angst short of Labor Day.

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Steelers Fall Flat Vs. Eagles

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers-Training Camp

Eli Rogers: via USA Today Sports

Another week, another depressing report. I will look hard for bright spots, because the score of 17-0, Eagles, tells you the bright spots are not terribly obvious.

I took careful notes, and I could go through them for you, but actually the game can be condensed thusly:

First Half

  • The Good News: No three-and-outs
  • The Bad News: They weren’t necessary for the Eagles’ defense, as they intercepted Jones four times.

Second Half:

  • The Good News: No interceptions from Dustin Vaughan
  • The Bad News: No points from Dustin Vaughan either.

Read more

A Few More Thoughts on Steelers/Lions


via Steelers.com

Friday night as I wrote my post I didn’t really even use the quite detailed game notes I made, thus leading to attributing DHB’s touchdown catch to Xavier Grimble. I decided that despite my reluctance to relive that game, I should really go through and see if there is more to glean from the game. So here goes.

The two guys who lined up in the endzone to take kickoffs were Sammie Coates and Fitzgerald Toussaint for the first half and Levi Norwood and Daryl Richardson for the second half. Many of the kickoffs were not returnable, although a couple in the second half were rather short. Whether that was by design or because the rookie kicker was nervous, I don’t know.

But in no instance did any returner for the Steelers get the ball past the 22 yard line. Since a touchback is placed at the 25 yard line, it will be surprising if many teams opt for returns when the ball enters the end zone. UNLESS, that is, you have a guy like Detroit rookie seventh-round pick Dwayne Washington, who took it to the house last night. I feel fairly confident in stating at this juncture that the Steelers haven’t found someone like that yet.

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5 Smoldering Questions, Training Camp Edition

by Hombre de Acero

203 days have passed since the Steelers’ shot at climbing the Stairway to Seven ended in Denver. Opening day is 33 days away, the Steelers have been at St. Vincent’s for 9 days, but today this corner of Steelers Nation must grabble with these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.

1. If Le’Veon Bell’s suspension is upheld, what impact if any do you think that Le’Veon Bell’s suspension will have on the Steelers’ 2016 Super Bowl hopes?

2. For this writer, Ivan Cole’s story about his “Steelers spring sabbatical” really brought home how oversaturated Steelers coverage has become. With that said, what do you think was the most underreported Steelers story this off season?

3. A year ago, the Steelers entered training camp thinking that Cortez Allen and Shamarko Thomas were going to start and exited camp with an “Accidental Secondary.

Based on that experience, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin opted to dump Allen, Antwon Blake and Brandon Boykin go all in on the youth movement at defensive back.

How realistic are the Steelers’ chances of fielding a stronger secondary in 2016 as compared to a year ago?

4. The Steelers have been at St. Vincent’s for almost a week now. Who is ready to earn some “bragging rights” by naming their pick for the Steelers 2016 a training camp sleeper?

5. This weekend Tony Dungy will enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. While Dungy’s head coaching record in Tampa Bay and Indianapolis has earned him his spot in Canton, Dungy is a former Steelers player and assistant coach.

What if anything, does the Pittsburgh part of Dungy’s resume say about his Hall of Fame worthiness and do you think Steelers Nation should treat Dungy’s induction as one of our own?

There you go folks, have at it!

in case you’re wondering, the picture is Dungy in his Steeler days…

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