It's tough to call back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons a disappointment for any wide receiver, but the last two years have felt a bit lacking for Demaryius Thomas.
After posting over 1,600 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2014, Thomas' production has dropped steadily over the past two years. Some of that can be pinned on Thomas himself, inconsistent quarterback play, and perhaps even an offensive scheme that didn't cater to the strengths of the 29-year-old wide receiver.
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1780457-film-room-analyzing-demar... But with the departure of Gary Kubiak and his signature offense, the Denver Broncos have welcomed back offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and the same pass-friendly system that transformed Thomas from injury-prone talent into perennial top-five wide receiver.
A return to familiar terminology, route tree, and quick-pass offense has both Thomas and McCoy believing the same production will return as well.
“There are a lot of things that are very similar. We’ve changed a number of things," McCoy said. "There is plenty of terminology that I’ve changed over the last four years. Every team you’re on, you change things as you go. There are a lot of the same concepts that we ran back in the day. He’s done a great job of picking it up, and he’s a great resource for the players. Having Demaryius and Emmanuel in the system also—they’re way ahead of everyone else right now.”
It's not just the playbook that's made things easier for Thomas, it's the volume of pass plays that has him gearing up to return to his old form.
"Of course, I’m a receiver, so I like to catch the ball," Thomas said. "We used to run more with Kubiak’s offense. I’m excited about having this old offense back.”
In addition to the new offense, there are a few other factors that could spur Thomas onto a dominant season including more experience at the quarterback position, an influx of offensive weapons to draw double coverage away from his side, and a year removed from a nagging hip injury he sustained in Week 1 that plagued him a season ago.
“At first I wasn’t [in pain], but after the first game against the Carolina Panthers, that’s when I started feeling all of the pain," Thomas remembered. "It came back after one hit, the first play of the game. And that’s when I felt my hip again. It just lingered.”
The injury limited him throughout 2016, but expect Thomas to break out this year. He may not have Peyton Manning throwing him the football, but he's got the offense and the ability that let him get loose from 2011 to 2014.