This week's leftovers: 3 things to digest


Shamarko and Troy:** Safety Shamarko Thomas has been learning from one of the best in the business the last two years, and hopes to put those lessons to work even more in 2015. Thomas said his mentor both on and off the field has been Troy Polamalu and he knows how lucky he is to have such a great teacher.

"Troy taught me the ropes and I am ready," said Thomas. "Just my preparation. I prepare like a pro. Troy taught me that way. He taught me how to be a man. You come into this game at a young age. He taught me how to grow as a man, mature, get closer to my family, God and be focused.

"Troy is a humble man. A great man. I am humbled and blessed to be in the situation where he can help me out."

In a rush: Cam Heyward was happy about his Ohio State Buckeyes winning the National Championship earlier this week, and when it came to the Steelers he liked what the defense did this season but knows there has to be improvement in 2015, especially as far as the pass rush goes.

"We only got one sack the last game and we have to have more," said Heyward. "We have to have more guys get to the quarterback, myself included. Any time it's a pass, I have to get more pressure. We have a lot of guys who can rush the passer and we have to go out there and do a better job."

Flying by: And while we're talking Ohio State, rookie Ryan Shazier was also a proud Buckeye this week, watching the National Championship game from the sidelines.

Shazier has come a long way in his first season with the Steelers, but he still has a ways to go.

"It just went by so fast," said Shazier. "There was a lot that I learned. A lot to still learn. I have to keep working and come back stronger."

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