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Breakout stars: Broncos' Thomas at top of list of guys ready to shine

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  • Breakout stars: Broncos' Thomas at top of list of guys ready to shine

    It was one of the marquee plays of the 2011 NFL season, and the guy who truly made it was essentially reduced to a footnote, a victim of Tebow-mania.

    You might have heard about Tim Tebow throwing a game-winning touchdown pass in overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers last January in the playoffs, but the guy who made it possible, turning an easy throw into an 80-yard TD catch, was the player I see as the Rob Gronkowski-like breakout player of 2012.

    Say hello to future star, Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas.

    "It's exciting to have somebody think that," Thomas said.

    Why not? Thomas has all the tools. He's big. He's fast. He's strong. And he now has a quarterback in Peyton Manning who will see him when he's running open, rather than forcing him to put his hand up every time he crossed the field.

    That's the way it was for much of 2011 for Thomas, dealing with Tebow's blind spots in the passing game, while dealing with a broken pinky that limited his ability to catch the football.

    I told him that after watching tape of his games, I came to the conclusion that his favorite pattern of all was the many he ran with his hand up, just hoping Tebow would see him.

    Thomas laughed. He wasn't going to take a shot at Tebow, even though he did so earlier this year in a radio interview before backtracking because God forbid somebody question Tebow.

    This is what he said at the time: "You gotta go back and look at the rest of the games [other than the Steelers game]. I wasn't getting no balls and you had to make some of these plays where some players were open and he is not making the throws. But I don't want to talk bad about Tim, but hey I am happy we got Peyton."

    That's because the Broncos will run a real offense, not some gimmicked-up crap that wasn't kind to the receivers.

    "I am so excited to get out there in a pro-style offense," Thomas said.

    In 11 games, including five starts, Thomas caught 32 passes for 551 yards and four touchdowns last season. But he really came on down the stretch. In December, he had 22 catches for 414 yards and three touchdowns. He followed that up with 10 catches for 297 yards and the one touchdown in two playoff games.

    With Manning, in a much more receiver-friendly offense, expect to see the end-of-year numbers for Thomas all season long in 2012. Aside from the addition of Manning, Thomas is healthy for the first time in his Denver career.

    Coming out of Georgia Tech, he had a tough rookie season in 2010. He broke his foot in a pre-draft workout, aggravated it early in the season and was limited to just two starts. Last February, he tore his Achilles tendon while doing conditioning drills at Georgia Tech, which kept him on the sidelines for the first month of the season. It didn't help that he fractured his pinkie during the season, playing through the pain.

    "I have no problems now," Thomas said.

    He has worked with Manning and he's excited about the chance to catch passes from him. Working on route running -- something he has done little of because of his injuries -- will help him improve as a receiver.

    "It's so much different now," Thomas said. "If you know what he [Manning] did with the Colts, you know it's different. It's new routes and new terminology. He's so passionate about the game. He's helped me with things like running routes and doing it the way he wants it. You have to know what you are doing or he'll get on you."

    Thomas said he sometimes will watch the play that beat the Steelers and think about how important it truly was for the team. It won a huge game in overtime, stamping him as a player to watch in 2012, even if he didn't get the credit he deserved.

    He got lost in Tebow-mania, even if that 235 pounds streaking away from the Pittsburgh defense is the image most true football evaluators will remember.

    "Once I caught stride, I knew I was going to be hard to catch," Thomas said.

    That's what will make him one of the NFL's breakout stars this season.
    In a Mile High state of mind...

  • #2
    is it september yet?


    • #3
      For DT and the other Bronco receivers, it won't be, "I'm open, please throw me the ball" rather more like, "yikes, I better be ready the split second I turn my head, cause the ball might just be there......and I don't want PM to get mad at me for not being ready!!!"

      Believe it or not, even though I joke a bit......this difference will have an impact on our guys, which will likely intensify their focus, and make them that much more competitive.....given the chance for them to max their skills, and given that Manning will work tightly with them to gain whatever edge they can find.


      • #4
        2nd round fantasy WR for sure.


        • #5
          Said it the day we drafted him...

          Watch out, dude is a monster who just terrorizes inferior CB's ...

          Ike Taylor is a big physical press CB who was excellent all last year and look what Thomas did to him...

          Playing against #24 everyday also can't hurt but dude is just a straight beasttt!


          • #6
            Glad to hear he takes route running seriously and that he knows expectations are going to be high starting in the huddle. I hope he kills it this year.
            Hate List for 2016-2017 Season: 1. Oakland, 2. New England, 3. Kansas City, 4. Pittsburgh and 5. Houston (yes, Houston....)


            • #7
              One thing to take from this article is that he has started working with Manning
              2011 Adopted Bronco: Rahim Moore


              • #8
                Originally posted by Kaldiron View Post
                One thing to take from this article is that he has started working with Manning
                He's been working with Manning since offseason workouts started in mid April.


                • #9
                  I'm not a fan of Prisco, and I don't necessarily agree with the explanation, but he also listed Orlando Franklin as a breakout star at the end.

                  Orlando Franklin, T, Broncos: He was good as a run blocker in Denver's run-oriented offense, but I think he will be just as good in pass protection with the move to a more pass-friendly scheme.
                  Go Broncos!!!:thumb: