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Demaryius Thomas becoming a 'Juggernaut' for Broncos

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  • Demaryius Thomas becoming a 'Juggernaut' for Broncos

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Peyton Manning lofted a pass down the left side of the Denver Broncos practice field Sunday and barely had to watch it as landed in Demaryius Thomas' hands.

    Thomas had split two defensive backs and, though a whistle blew, didn't slow, sprinting 30 more yards to the end zone. As he turned around to make his way back to the huddle, he turned to a group of observers and smiled.

    "They didn't make that tackle," Thomas said.

    It was the type of play that Thomas made over and over in private workouts this spring with an elite group of NFL wide receivers, including Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green.

    "I want to be one of those guys that isn't forgotten once I'm done. That's my main thing," Thomas told USA TODAY Sports.

    Wide receivers, perhaps more than players at other positions, make their mark through statistics. Yet Thomas is preparing for the possibility that his individual numbers might go down in 2013 from the 94 catches and 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns he recorded last season.

    This is Thomas' new challenge in Denver, balancing the desire to become one of the game's elite wide receivers while sharing an offensive huddle with other big-name talents in Wes Welker and Eric Decker.

    Welker, the newest of the bunch, has a strong career résumé and five 100-catch seasons in the last six years. Decker, the fan favorite and heartthrob whose reality television show with his new wife debuts on E! next month, was Manning's favorite red-zone target last year.

    But Thomas is the true No.1 receiver, the one with the best combination of size (6-3 and 229 pounds), power to throw a vicious stiff-arm and speed to outrun just about any NFL defensive back.

    Denver's coaches are confident there isn't a diva in the bunch.

    Offensive coordinator Adam Gase said Thomas and Decker showed unselfishness as they quietly worked through injuries as rookies in 2010, and especially in 2011 when they were thrust into a run-oriented offense when the Broncos switched to Tim Tebow at quarterback.

    Thomas, who played in a triple-option offense at Georgia Tech, was particularly helpful as the Broncos ran so much with Tebow. He frequently brought ideas, not complaints, to offensive meetings.

    "It was things like, if we do this, I think I can get open," Gase said. "And they were great suggestions."

    It worked. No receiver other than Johnson was as productive as Thomas in the final month of 2011, when Thomas finally had recovered from the torn Achilles tendon suffered in February. And then came the Broncos' wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Jan.8, 2012, when Thomas made one of the most memorable plays in NFL postseason history.

    On the first play of overtime, he caught a short slant pass from Tebow, cut up field and to the other sideline, out-running the Steelers' defense to the end zone.

    "You just saw the explosiveness, and his ability – at that size – to just pull away from people," Gase said.

    Gase coached quarterbacks for Detroit in 2007 when the Lions used the No.2 draft pick on Johnson. He whole-heartedly approves of his new star pupil spending his offseason training with Johnson. As Thomas develops as a route-runner (he had a limited base to work with when he arrived from Georgia Tech) Gase hopes other parts of Johnson's game are rubbing off on Thomas.

    "The one thing from my experience around Calvin was just how he had the confidence to just go and get the ball," Gase said. "That's the one thing I'm sure (Thomas) is trying to work on, stretching the field and just being able to attack the ball. It's not an easy thing to do. You've got a guy draped on you and you're trying to catch while running full-speed. It's one thing you've got to develop and fight through some of the frustrations so that can happen."

    Thomas was a redshirt freshman at Georgia Tech in 2006 when Johnson was in his final collegiate season. Thomas was the tag-along kid brother who watched everything Johnson did, and then tried to do the same.

    "I'm trying to be better than him, and I'm trying to get where he's at, because I feel like he's the best in the game," Thomas said.

    Seven years later, it hasn't changed all that much, though Thomas has certainly begun to close the gap between him and his mentor.

    "Him, A.J. (Green), the guys we work out, those guys are trying to come get me, trying to be the top in the league, as they should," Johnson said last week about Thomas.

    While working out in Atlanta and Los Angeles, where he caught passes from New York Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez and went through cardio sessions on the beach, Thomas dropped nearly nine pounds and weighed in at 226 pounds when he arrived for training camp. He's hoping to play at 222 pounds this season, and said he already feels faster.

    His teammates notice a difference.

    "When he goes out here to work, you would think he had never made a catch in his life, or he's a free agent or something," said teammate Andre Caldwell. "He's a big guy, but has the speed of a little guy, and when he gets the ball, we call him 'Juggernaut' (based on the X-Men character) because he can't be tackled."
    http://m.usatoday.com/article/news/2594359

  • #2
    good article. i still see a rawness about him, but that is a compliment. i remember when he got injured and basically the entire board tossed the towel in for this kid. good on him.

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    • #3
      Yeah, he might be the second most dominant receiver in the league by the end of this year. Really stoked to see how high the ceiling is.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by SoundsOfSuccess View Post
        Yeah, he might be the second most dominant receiver in the league by the end of this year. Really stoked to see how high the ceiling is.
        It seems like everyday we hear about how Manning and Thomas hook up for big play after big play. I think Manning is really liking all of his toys the Broncos have given him this year.

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        • #5
          dibs on sig idea

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          • #6
            Always knew my boy Thomas would be great...

            He's a special WR

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            • #7
              Thinking I like Optimus Prime better lol

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              • #8
                I don't think he'll ever be CJ or a healthy Andre Johnson, but Top 5-10 is certainly realistic IMO. If he proves me wrong, great, but I just don't see him as the guy who makes the toughest catches or will outjump two DBs for the ball.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brohemoth View Post
                  I don't think he'll ever be CJ or a healthy Andre Johnson, but Top 5-10 is certainly realistic IMO. If he proves me wrong, great, but I just don't see him as the guy who makes the toughest catches or will outjump two DBs for the ball.
                  He already is top 5 no question

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by #24 Next Champ View Post
                    He already is top 5 no question
                    He needs to retire a Bronco.

                    All we need is a TE with his skills and physical attributes a la Vernon Davis.
                    Can Julius Thomas be that guy? Maybe.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by #24 Next Champ View Post
                      He already is top 5 no question
                      CJ
                      Fitz
                      Andre
                      Marshall
                      Green

                      He's not top 5 as of right now. Love him, though
                      sigpic
                      Sig by Blondie79

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JaysusCutler View Post
                        CJ
                        Fitz
                        Andre
                        Marshall
                        Green

                        He's not top 5 as of right now. Love him, though
                        I'd take him over Marshall because he was always a terrible route runner. Thomas also gets the nod because he's arguably the best deep threat in the NFL, and Cutler mostly threw to Marshall last year. Thomas shared the ball with Decker and Stokley.
                        sigpic

                        2014 Pick'Em Challenge Champion
                        Proud Fan of the 3 Time Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by #24 Next Champ View Post
                          He already is top 5 no question
                          Totally agree.

                          Originally posted by mozzerpete View Post
                          He needs to retire a Bronco.
                          I hope so. Nothing like watching Broncos carve out possible HOF careers.
                          #swapping

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BroncoFanBoy View Post
                            I'd take him over Marshall because he was always a terrible route runner. Thomas also gets the nod because he's arguably the best deep threat in the NFL, and Cutler mostly threw to Marshall last year. Thomas shared the ball with Decker and Stokley.
                            Cutler throwing to him a lot doesn't make him worse. He's a proven playmaker and definitely better than Thomas at this point in their careers.
                            sigpic
                            Sig by Blondie79

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ranking all the wrs at the end of last season (including the last 4 years or so too):

                              1. Calvin (duh)
                              2. Andre (still has it)
                              3. Fitz (guy has had no qb at all)
                              4. Marshall (great production over the years)
                              5. Welker (idc, 112 catches per season is called getting it done)
                              6. Green (going to be one of the best wrs soon)
                              7. Dez (gets the slight nod over DT only because his first two seasons were better, and he also exploded towards the end of last season)
                              8. DT
                              9. Julio
                              10. Roddy White

                              By end of this season, i'd say it will be 1. Calvin
                              2. DT
                              3. Green
                              4. Dez
                              5. Julio
                              6. Fitz
                              7. Marshall
                              8. andre
                              9. Roddy
                              10. Welker

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