All was quiet in the Steelers locker room on one of the team's off days during OTAs recently, and for good reason. It was barely 7 a.m., and anyone that would be coming in to work out on the off day wasn't there yet.
Except for safety Shamarko Thomas, that is.
Thomas doesn't run on a clock, doesn't base his comings and goings on the fact that most people are still asleep because he looks at that as an opportunity to get a jump on things and get a little extra preparation in.
It's the same approach he took last season, trying to learn as much as he could, but being in a much more comfortable spot now with a much greater understanding of what he is doing.
"I have progressed a lot," said Thomas. "I just know the whole defense now. Last year I was all over the place, just wanting to know my role. This year I am just settled in and comfortable and just playing.
"It's like college, your freshman year you don't know the defense and the next year you settle in and fly around and make plays. That's what I am doing now. I don't have to think and second guess myself. I just fly around and make plays."
Thomas weighed in on a few other topics as well.
On what he sees his role being: "I don't know. That is up to the coaches. I am going to work my butt off and come to camp ready. What happens, happens."
On what he needs to show during OTAs: "I am a quiet person and last year because I didn't know the defense, I need to communicate and be consistent. That is my biggest thing. I talk to Troy (Polamalu) every day and try to be consistent in everything I do."
On what he needs to work on: "The playbook. I was playing nickel, safety, and I was in packages and all over the place. The big thing Troy told me was to learn the whole defense, so it was a great development last year learning the whole defense and now I am here comfortable because I know where everybody is and where I am supposed to be and where to make plays."