5 Minutes With Mike Thomas

It didn't take long for the Jacksonville Jaguars to take advantage of the speed and pass-catching ability of rookie Mike Thomas. Scout.com's Ed Thompson caught up with the Pac-10's all-time leader in receptions this week to talk about his transition to the NFL and his first couple of starts as a Jaguar.

Ed Thompson: Let's talk a little bit about your experience with the Jacksonville Jaguars so far this year as a rookie. What are some of your overall impressions of how you're fitting in with the team?

Mike Thomas: I think I'm fitting in pretty good. I think being a rookie, you just kind of have to find your niche, and once you find it--or think you found it--you can develop and grow from there. I think they've done a good job of easing me into the offense and special teams. They are giving me the chance to get know what it feels like to be in an NFL game. I think everything is going smoothly, so now I am looking to grow and develop as a player.

Thompson: With your skill set and speed, I think you add a different dimension to this Jaguars offense. I see they're using you a lot of different ways. 

Thomas: I'm pretty pleased and happy just to be a part of the offense, just to have the opportunity to get out there. I'm willing to do whatever I can to help my team out. Things are going good.

Thompson: You've gotten a couple of starts over these last two weeks. Did you expect to be able to get some starts this early in your rookie year?

Thomas: I felt that there was a lot of potential for me to play out of the slot. I figured it was up for grabs, especially when they traded Dennis Northcutt. I definitely didn't put it past myself to start, but I didn't expect it this early. So I'm just trying to capitalize on every opportunity that I get.

Thompson: Talk about your role on special teams handling both punt returns and kick returns. 

Thomas: I love having the ball in my hands, trying to make a play. I have experience with the return game and I've had a couple of opportunities, so it's been pretty good for me so far.

Thompson: Mike, I think every rookie comes into the National Football League with expectations of what it's going to be like. How has your experience so far matched up to what you thought it would be?

Thomas has been called upon to run the ball, catch passes and returns punts and kickoffs.
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Thomas: It's a lot faster. You see holes, and you see them close just as quick as you see them. Coming into it I pretty much had an open mind. I didn't put any extra pressure on myself or anything like that. I just went out there and played. 

Thompson: How much of a help has it been to have a guy like Torry Holt to work with and to l earn from? And are there any other veterans on the team that have been a really big help to you?

Thomas: All of them. You've got Troy (Williamson)--he's hurt, but he still comes around. From the beginning, Troy and Mike Sims-Walker have been there on and off the field, being a friend to us, showing us certain things and helping us out on plays. Torry has helped a lot of us out. He has so much experience, so just by watching him you learn something. We all sit around and watch what he is doing, because we want to try to emulate it. Those guys are leaders and role models, so we definitely take heed to that.

Thompson: The team started off a little bit slow this year but then you guys picked up the pace. What was the difference? What kick-started you in the right direction?

Thomas: I really don't have the answer to that one, I guess it was just our time. We were putting in a lot of hard work, especially me being a rookie, I feel like I put a lot of work into making the transition, and I know my teammates feel the same way. I think it just paid off for us. We got a few wins under our belt and got it rolling a little bit, but we still have a long way to go as a team. We go out there and work hard at practice every day. When you do those things, you expect to win, and we just keep knocking at that door until they come. 

Thompson: Your team had a tough loss to Seattle last week and you've got St. Louis on your radar this week. How do you guys bounce back from a lopsided loss like that? 

Thomas: You take it for what it is. You go back and look at the film, quickly gather up what you need from it and move on. I think you learn from it, and usually when things like that happen you come back hungry to get that taste out of your mouth. I think we had a good day at practice today, so I think we're going to be all right.

Thompson: What are a couple of the big lessons you guys learned from that game that are going to make you a stronger team down the stretch?

Thomas: I think keeping your poise, learning how to go on the road and not make those mistakes because it's very hard to win on the road. We just have to keep fighting because we don't ever want to feel what we felt leaving Seattle. I think we will learn from it and will do whatever we have to do to get a victory.

Thompson: Mike, are you having as much fun with all of this as you had hoped?

Thomas: It's been a little more play than fun to me. I think that's kind of how you have to approach it. You go out there and play the game just to play the game. You don't worry about the business aspect of it as much, even though it is an important key. You go out there and do what you do and let everything else take care of itself.

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A member of the Pro Football Writers of America, Ed Thompson's player interviews and NFL features are published across the Scout.com network and at FOXSports.com.

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