The Pittsburgh Steelers have struggled in pass defense at times this 2014 season, and that's a large reason why the Steelers are 2-2, and not 3-1, after a devastating loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Heinz Field last week.
The chemistry between veteran safety Troy Polamalu and his counterpart Mike Mitchell hasn't quite developed the way fans thought, and Polamalu looks to be a step slow at times.
All of this is having fans wanting to see more of Shamarko Thomas, the heir to Polamalu's legendary position of safety for the Steelers, but the second-year safety from Syracuse University has been forced to simply watch and learn from the sidelines.
Thomas spent time training with Polamalu this off-season, and has worked extremely hard to get himself acclimated to the nuances of the complex Dick LeBeau 3-4 scheme. Unlike other players, according to Thomas, it isn't a lack of knowing the defense that's keeping him off of the field.
"I know this defense like the back of my hands," Thomas told Ralph Paulk of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "I'm here working hard every day, so I hope the coaches are confident enough to trust me. I want to be out there, but things come in due time."
The longer Thomas doesn't see the field this year, the more it looks as if his time won't come until the 2015 season, in which case he might be filling the safety position as the full-time starter. In the meantime, Thomas will have to remain patient and be able to capitalize when his opportunity arises.