Shamarko Thomas told me this morning that the coaching staff has decided to go with Will Allen over him at strong safety this week against the Patriots.
It's a demotion to be sure, but it doesn't necessarily mean that Thomas is done as a player.
He was visibly upset when I spoke to him, but I don't think he'll just give up. I think Thomas will continue fighting and trying to get better.
In the meantime, the Steelers will go with a more experienced player at strong safety - one who is especially more experienced in the Cover-2 defense that Mike Tomlin and Keith Butler want to run.
Allen has long been a Tomlin favorite. He was the defensive backs coach in Tampa back in 2004 when Allen was drafted and Tomlin then brought Allen to Pittsburgh in 2010.
Allen is a stay-at-home safety. He trusts his eyes and instincts. He's not going to make a bunch of big plays for you, but he'll play the defense as it's called and won't make many mistakes, either.
* The Steelers signed veteran running back Jordan Todman, who was waived by Carolina Saturday, and claimed rookie defensive end Caushaud Lyons off waivers from Tampa Bay.
Todman, you'll remember, torched the Steelers for a 49-yard run in the preseason finale, when he had 72 yards on five carries. He's also spent time with Jacksonville and has 450 yards and three TDs on 111 carries.
Lyons (6-5, 295) was considered a prototypical 3-4 defensive end prospect in this year's draft. The Tusculum product is, however, raw.
To make room for them on the roster, the Steelers waived both Doran Grant and Anthony Chickillo.
The Steelers will try to get both of those guys back on their practice squad.
* It was interesting that the team didn't IR Maurkice Pouncey to make either of those moves. There should be another coming, with Pouncey designated to return at some point this season.
* The practice squad - at least for now, is running back Dominique
Brown, defensive back Jordan Dangerfield, offensive linemen Reese
Dismukes and Antonio Johnson, linebackers L.J. Fort and Shayon
Green, defensive end Ethan Hemer, wide receivers Shakim
Phillips and Jarrod West, and tight end Harold Spears.
* Ben Roethlisberger, Cam Heyward, Will Gay and Robert Golden were voted team captains on Sunday.
This is the first time Gay and Heyward have been so honored, while Golden was special teams captain last year.
* According to Mike Tomlin, Lawrence Timmons and Mike Mitchell were back at practice today. Stephon Tuitt also confirmed his participation.
Shamarko probably feels like he's never been given a fair chance by this coaching staff. I feel bad for the kid, and I kind of agree with him. Tomlin's got a soft spot for Will Allen, that's for sure. I think this defense needs playmakers though. Will Allen really isn't going to do much to help us, like you said
Tomlin wants to win this game and Will Allen simply gives the team a better chance to do that this week.
NOt a fair chance? He would be stupid to think that and he seems like a very smart man. He ran as the unquestioned starter all offseason. The only question looming was if he could take it and not screw up, and he screwed up a lot, even if his run D was amazing by some accounts. Allen will not make mistakes like him, though has probably half his athletic ability, but in situations like this u go with the safe option and try to keep developing the young guy. A three safety package at times could do wonders for him, but over the top he will be eaten up
Anon 1:34 ... Is that you Coach? LOL
I agree with Anon, go with the safe option that won't likely blow some big plays. Let thomas develop more. He's been injured too much.
Allen should started over troy in the Ravens gam last year and he should start over shamarko now.
Shamarko has been awful in pre season. In last 4 pre season games 4 big plays TD and they all had one thing in common: Shamarko failing badly.
Hey Dale - Can you explain the difference between release, cut, waived, etc. I'm confused how some guys were signed to the practice squad and others weren't. Does that have to do with being draft picks vs. UDFA? Also, if someone signs one of the draft picks like Grant/Chick, do they have to put them on the 53 man roster? I'm looking how HoJo was signed to TB practice squad for more money than PITT offered (I think he wasn't considered a draft pick so there's different rules).
What is this team doing? Why are they cutting a 4th round draft pick? Is Dismukes really better than Finney? Is Dri Archer better than a 5th grader? Could Landry Jones outplay a corpse? This is no way to build a champion. If it wasn't for a couple lucky picks the FO would look like complete failures. And don't bring up their history. No playoff wins since 08. 3 games over .500 in the last 3 years. A franchise QB Iis going to waste.
Finney and VanDyk both got hurt on the last play of the game vs Car. Both were waived injured.
Since Todman probably won't see many carries, why not claim Jonas Gray who was let go by NE? Might be able to gain some in sight into NE.
Dale, what are your thoughts on the Toddman and Lyons pick ups? I think Toddman is a great fit with this team and is more than just a 2-game rental. I think he takes the permanent KR job from Dri Archer and eventually his roster spot on game days. He's better as a returner and he is a legit, big-play NFL RB with some toughness. He's also decent in pass protection. I don't know anything about Lyons, though I was surprised the Steelers picked up another undrafted rookie FA at DT/DE rather than a vet. Hoping that Chickillo and Grant will be on the team's practice squad later today.
A couple of vet OL that are still intriguing to me that are out there are C/G Barrett Jones cut from the Rams and C/G Gino Gradkowski cut by the Raiders. Both would be upgrades to old Mother Hubbard at G.
Gino Gradkowski is completely awful. Terrible.
Todman is a nice pickup. I've always liked him. We'll see if he sticks long term. He gets two games to state his case.
Lyons, I know nothing about, other than his draft bio saying he's the prototypical 3-4 defensive end. Don't even remember him coming up in any draft stuff.
If they were to sign another lineman, it would be a tackle. Hubbard is unlikely to be active on game day.
As for the guys who were placed on the practice squad, they cleared waivers, which is why they signed today. There is a 24-hour period. Chickillo and Grant will likely be brought back Monday to the practice squad once they clear waivers.
Dale, what's your feeling on Tuitt?? Think he's gonna play thursday? Would make for a huge upgrade on our whole team if he does. Anything to slow down brady, not giving him time (cam thomas!)
Doran grant release a big time disappointment. Shamarko not being ready also very concerning. I wonder how much the Shamarko decision has to do with not giving Brady the opportunity to exploit a young player down field.
Yes, Tuitt is going to play.
Barrett Jones was signed to the practice squad today. Reese Dismukes sent packing.
Perhaps one day, Colbert and company will draft a defensive back that can actually play in the NFL. Until then, we can only dream.
Well, maybe Golson, the new tiny guy on IR, will eventually turn into something. But the track record with DB picks suggests otherwise.
I agree. With Shazier and Timmons making it impossible to throw underneath, we just need a conservative safety playing deep and not making mistakes.
Shamarko is not conservative and still making mistakes.
The steeler way has been to get to the QB and play soft coverage.
Even Darrelle Revis would give up yards in this scheme.
All we need is a nose tackle to help open our rush. Not a CB.
Dale I'd really like you to answer this and answer it as realistically as possible...
With SS being arguable the biggest hole on the D, theoritically could last year's version of Troy Polamalu have helped this team over Sharko & Will?
Was there any chance we could have afforded him? And what in particular did we use his money for besides signing Mike Vick?
I just think it's relevant to bring this up one last time as we go into our first regular season without the legend.
I'm looking forward to the nuggets that you usually share with us once the
season begins that you couldn't report on during training camp..
I don't believe Troy would have done well in a Cover-2 system. That wasn't his strength when he ran well, let alone the version we saw last season.
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