Despite not playing a single snap at safety against the New York Giants in the first game of the preseason, rookie Shamarko Thomas is now a co-backup with Da'Mon Cromartie-Smith behind starter Troy Polamalu.
Thomas spent his snaps at nickel back in Week 1, and Cromartie-Smith played every snap not played by Polamalu. Thomas had a hand in a few tackles. Cromartie-Smith whiffed on a punt blocking assignment which resulted in a blocked Drew Butler kick and eventually a Giants field goal. Evidently, advantage Thomas.
Cromartie-Smith did have a few good moments in the Giants game, although they went mostly unnoticed. On a few occasions he found himself in man coverage with a receiver streaking down the sideline. Cromartie-Smith used the sideline against the receiver, preventing a catch in-bounds; however the three points he cost his team are difficult to ignore.
Thomas had yet to take over safety duties as of Monday's practice, but evidently the team plans to work him in more as the preseason progresses. The team will not want to need five safeties in 2013, and will be wanting Thomas to earn the fourth spot through performance.
With three games remaining before the regular season starts, the depth chart position seems to be Cromartie-Smith's to lose. Allowing blocked kicks on special teams is how it happens.
Cromartie-Smith 'or' Thomas will have another opportunity to stand out when the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to FedEx Field to take on the Washington Redskins on Monday night in the second game for both teams.
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