Many believe that WR Demaryius Thomas had a down year in 2015, but considering all the factors of the season, that’s not really the case.
In Thomas' first three seasons playing with Peyton Manning, he averaged 99 catches a year for 1,494 yards, 12 touchdowns and 9 drops. In those three seasons, Thomas was targeted 467 times, dropping 28 of those passes for a drop rate of 5.9%
In 2016, Thomas caught 105 passes for 1,304 yards and 6 touchdowns to go along with 9 drops. Thomas was targeted 177 times with a 5.1% drop rate, the lowest of his career.
Thomas still had a poor season in his own words.
“The worst for sure in my past four years," he said. "Mainly with drops, I had a lot of drops where I could have made plays. I could have had a totally different year because of that. I’d say it was probably the worst I had in my past four.”
Thomas’ drops in 2015 came at big times, in key moments, so fans noticed, but seemingly forgot that he was battling injury most of the season, his mother was in the process of being released from prison and he had skipped offseason workouts while he and the Denver Broncos worked out a new contract for him.
The offense was transitioning to a new system, so missing the offseason program really hurt Thomas. A player who is not under contract should not be expected to participate in offseason activities. It did not help that the team had the worst quarterback play in the NFL in 2015, an issue Thomas had not had during the previous three seasons and something he has not blamed even once.
It will also be a huge help that Thomas will be without distractions this season.
“I don’t have to worry about my mom," he said. "She’s good. Contract is over with. I’m here now trying to learn what I need to learn and not rushing it [like] when I came the first time. It’s all football.”
Demaryius comes into the team's offseason program in 2016 more focused than ever, 2015 is in the past. Of course attending all team activities will help him regain his form.
“I think it will be a big difference. Coming in at training camp and trying to learn stuff so fast, [it] wasn’t so easy with a new offense. We’re in here now seeing it from the beginning. We’ve got new plays in, new faces. I think it will be big being in here with the guys now.”
“I think he does," Thomas said. "We went out to California and threw a couple of days. He made every throw. The ball looked good. We had a good time. He called us [to come] out. We watched film. He played in this offense a couple years now. He’s comfortable. He doesn’t try to do too much as a quarterback and as a leader. He’d tell us what he’d want done and things like that.”
Thomas also isn’t against restructuring his contract if it helps the team. In a restructure, Thomas would not lose any money, dollars would just be moved around to create cap space for the team.
“I had some stuff [come up], but it wasn’t about restructuring. It was doing something to get cap space. I was going with it. It is what it is. If they want me to do something, I’ll do it,” Thomas said.
The 2016 off season hasn’t been tumultuous for the Broncos, a factor that bodes well for Thomas as he looks to recapture his all-pro form.
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