I can’t say I’m surprised and you shouldn’t be either. Washington-Observer Reporter and Steelers Nation Radio Member Dale Lolley broke the news via Twitter.
— Dale Lolley (@dlolleyor) September 6, 2015
Shamarko Thomas has been a great story since being drafted three years ago but the narrative just hasn’t gone quite like many expected it. He’s struggled to stay healthy and he’s had difficulty picking up the defense. Combine those issues with the fact he hasn’t tackled well and hasn’t covered well and you have a demotion.
Veteran Will Allen is one of Mike Tomlin’s favorite guys. This isn’t breaking news but what we can take from this move is that Tomlin and Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler were clearly not as comfortable with Thomas as they are with Allen heading into the opener against the Patriots.
Thomas was thought to be the heir apparent to Troy Polamalu but along the way, people often forgot that Thomas still had to earn the spot. Fans often lose sight because they hear Thomas was working out with Polamalu and spending a great deal of time with him.
To many fans that translates to instant success for Thomas on game days.
Unfortunately that isn’t fair to Thomas who most certainly puts in the work in the offseason but again, that does not always equate to being successful on the field.
We must also consider the feelings of fellow safety Mike Mitchell. We know he wasn’t crazy about playing with Polamalu last year and perhaps he’s had similar feelings expressed to Tomlin about Thomas. In my opinion, Mitchell isn’t one to be talking but it is what it is.
Allen will provide Tomlin and Butler with stability. He won’t make flashy plays but if he uses his veteran instincts properly he shouldn’t be out of position which is a major concern with Thomas.
The entire episode is really a commentary on just how bad the Steelers’ secondary really is right now. I still think they will look to add a safety via the waiver wire in the coming hours.
That aside, the move to play Allen ahead of Thomas should not be surprising considering the Patriots’ success throwing the ball against the Steelers.