It takes a VERY dedicated and intelligent player to pick up our D as a rookie. Others are just behind great players. Before last season, LeBeau would have been shot by the fanbase if he had given Worilds "reps" over a healthy Harrison or Woodley. It is only in hindsight (and the departure of James) that we say, "Worilds should have been given more reps."
If you look at the recent articles about Thomas, he is succeeding more for his mental attributes than his physical (which are also phenomenal.) Troy and Clark are showering him with compliments about his work ethic, humble demeanor, and are even joking that he is a pain in the a$$ because he asks so many questions. There are a lot of very good college football players who are allowed to play on instinct or within a simpler system, who have never had to work this hard to learn a huge playbook. James (not too bright but a much closer representation of a typical young athlete than Shamarko) begged in tears to be taken off the field in a preseason game early in his career because he was totally lost and had no idea what to do.
Shamarko is one of those rare finds with the mental acuity along with physical prowess. Jones has an added advantage of being the first high round 3-4 OLB we have ever drafted (I think. If not, the first in a long time). We usually go for the smallish DE and convert them, which takes time.
I believe that LeBeau plays the best player available on a given Sunday. It is just seldom a rookie for the reasons above. As fans, we get impatient because we see each rookie as the potential next superstar. The coaches see the real deal in practice.
LeBeau would be thrown into the 5th circle of hell on this message board. Each Sunday, you play your best players for the given situation.
No one thought they would start pouncey as a rookie, then he earned the RG spot, then he ran away with the C spot...sometimes it just happens, but i think its a little harder on a top 5 defense than it is on a horrible bottom 5 offensive line to make a name for yourself
Troy played a little as a rookie, and he ended up being one of the all time greats at the position
Is David Johnson still hurt??
The Steelers have signed tight end Nathan Overbay.
To make room on the roster the team released offensive tackle Mike Farrell
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