Not only did Ramon Foster suffer a high-ankle sprain against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, rookie safety Shamarko Thomas happened to sustain one as well. While the grade of the sprain is not known like Foster’s, Thomas’ injured ankle will be enough to force the former Syracuse start to miss Pittsburgh’s upcoming game against the Detroit Lions according to Scott Brown of ESPN.com.
The absence of Thomas will be a significant blow to Pittsburgh when it comes to their special teams coverage units and in their defensive sub-package sets. “Shark” has been one of the Steelers’ best kickoff and punt coverage players this fall, and his ability to corral and perform with consistency will be sorely missed.
As far as his absence on defense is concerned, I will look for Detroit’s already pass-happy offense to exploit Pittsburgh’s secondary in subpackages. A staple in Pittsburgh’s nickel, dime, and quarter defenses, the Steelers will likely have to call upon backup free safety Robert Golden or backup cornerback Curtis Brown to chip in with Thomas on the sidelines.
Hopefully, Thomas will be able to come back to the lineup soon since he could be in line to see some extended playing time down the stretch. For now though, the Steelers will have to make do without their talented rookie safety on special teams and in sub-packages on passing downs.
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