NFL

Steelers' Tomlin says Shamarko Thomas needs to improve mental game

Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Shamarko Thomas (29) looks on from the bench against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. The Ravens won 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 3, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Shamarko Thomas (29) looks on from the bench against the Baltimore Ravens in the fourth quarter in the 2014 AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Heinz Field. The Ravens won 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If Shamarko Thomas ever wants to start filling Troy Polamalu's shoes, he's going to have to improve his mental approach to the game.

Thomas, who was expected to start at safety alongside Mike Mitchell, saw just four defensive snaps in Thursday's season-opening loss to New England. Will Allen will continue to play ahead of Thomas because of his veteran presence.

"He's got to be good above the neck," Tomlin said of Thomas via PennLive.com. "He's got to be in position to make plays, he's got to do a good job of communicating, some of the things that we thought Will Allen gave us a better opportunity to do well given the course of his experience."

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Tom Brady carved up Pittsburgh for 288 yards and four touchdowns, completing 19 straight passes at one point. The fact that Thomas has been unable to make an impact in a Steelers' secondary that needs all the help it can get, tells you just how bad he is struggling.

h/t: PennLive.com