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Kaboly: Rookie defensive players and Mike Tomlin just don’t mix (chart included)

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tomlin2Thanks, but no thanks.

That’s been the message that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin has sent rookie defenders ever since taking over the team in 2007.

It took nearly 100 regular-season games for Tomlin to trust a rookie to start and that was Jarvis Jones Week 2 in Cincinnati a year ago. Vince Williams followed suit because of necessity and the same went with Terrence Garvin — a rookie tryout just months before.

Now, a big reason why rookie defenders haven’t been able to crack the starting lineup for Tomlin hasn’t been because he’s been bull-headed as much as the defense was pretty set with a cast of veteran stars. Still, as those stars got older and eventually left, rookies still didn’t fill the holes.

That very well could all change this year with the selections of Ryan Shazier and Stephon Tuitt — the Steelers’ first two draft picks. The two don’t only have a high pedigree and played a lot at big-time colleges, but are coming into a situation where there is need — inside linebacker and defensive end.

Now, that’s still a ways away but it sure isn’t out of the question like it would’ve been a couple years ago.

Here is a list of rookie defenders and their playing time with the Steelers in the Tomlin era. (Before you ask, the offense has seen a lot of rookies playing including Darnell Stapleton, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, Marcus Gilbert, Mike Adams and more)

                                               

                                              2007

PLAYER                                      G        GS      SNAPS

William Gay (CB)                     16           0              95

LaMarr Woodley (LB)            13           0              69

Lawrence Timmons (LB)       16           0             16

Ryan McBean (DE)                   1            0              0

Grant Mason (CB)                    5            0              0

                                                   51           0              186

 

                                             2008

PLAYER                             G             GS          SNAPS

Donovan Woods (LB)       5              0              9

Patrick Bailey (LB)             12           0              9

Scott Paxson (NT)             1              0              0

Roy Lewis (CB)                    1              0              0

Bruce Davis (LB)                 5              0              0

                                            24           0              19

 

                                         2009

PLAYER                           G             GS          SNAPS

Ziggy Hood (DE)              16           0              225

Ryan Mundy (S)               16           0              88

Joe Burnett (CB)              15           0              44

Keenan Lewis (CB)          4            0              0

                                         51           0              357


                                          2010

PLAYER                           G             GS          SNAPS

Jason Worilds (LB)          14           0              43

Stevenson Sylvester (LB) 16       0              37

Steve McLendon (NT)    7            0              22

Crezdon Butler (CB)        4              0              0

                                        41           0              102

 

                                                2011

PLAYER                           G             GS          SNAPS

Cam Heyward (DE )        16           0              198

Cortez Allen (CB)             15           0              60

Chris Carter (LB)              8              0              46

Corbin Bryant (DE)          1              0              5

Curtis Brown (CB)            12           0              0

D. Cromartie-Smith (S)   4              0              0

                                             56           0              309

 

                                            2012

PLAYER                           G             GS          SNAPS

Robert Golden (S)          15           0              46

Adrian Robinson (LB)     12             0              0

Marshall McFadden (LB) 1            0              0

                                             28           0              46

                                             2013

PLAYER                           G             GS          SNAPS

Jarvis Jones (LB)              14           8              636

Vince Williams (LB)        15           11           405

Shamarko Thomas (S)  14           2              193

Terence Garvin (LB)        15           1              33

Brian Arnfelt (DE)              2              0              2

                                             60           22           1,269

* Jarvis Jones started Week 2 in Cincinnati

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Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly covers the Pittburgh Steelers for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 250 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer, and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug

 
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