Demaryius Thomas – What happened?

With days passing from the incredible joy of winning the Superbowl and the impending free agency period looming over the Denver Broncos and their 10000 unrestricted free agents, one question is being raised by analysts and some fans too: what the hell happened to the guy that have got paid not even one year ago? Where was the production?

To be fair Demaryius Thomas had a good year in terms of production, he always had his drops but they tent to low down when he was being targeted thousands of times per game. So here we already have a pattern for his awareness: at full speed it is really good, when not at full speed…..well….not top overall, to say the least.

Really, people tend to forget that he made the Osweiler debut less tense by catching a normal 8-10 yarder and hurdling 50 or more yards downfield for a Osweiler first ever drive TD. That and the fact that he did it again in week 17 against the Chargers, giving the illusion of a soon to be blowout that regressed into the Osweiler benching because of lack of awareness by the whole offense.

He had more than 1000 receiving yards, a big bunch of them are “after the catch work”.

105 receptions…..and it is not that Manning was the old himself: no he was a mediocre thrower since the beginning of the season, often switching from great throws to horrible wounded ducks. 105 topped all Broncos receivers again.

So, he had a good regular season, at least.

Then in the playoffs his production had an incredible drop-off.  Nobody can argue with that, as nobody can argue that in Superbowl 48 he was the one fighting until the end of the 4th quarter, with a bad shoulder and nothing on the line, just for pride and professionalism. I want to remember that situation and say that for sure he cared about winning all playoff games and moreover,  he’s usually a top performer when the game is on the line: just ask Tim Tebow and Dick LeBoeuf.

Look, I think that something was wrong with him during these playoffs, maybe he was badly injured but he had to play because not having him in the line-up is just terrible for the Broncos, making the opponent defense game plan so much easier: remember the 3rd and goal holding flag in the SB that allowed the Broncos to score the only offensive touchdown the very next play: nobody wanted Manning to throw the ball, maybe not even himself, so Kubiak gambled out a pass that was gonna be incomplete from the start because Manning was going to throw the ball (and threw it) on the stands: he just had to target Demayius Thomas to make the attempt believable, catching the Panthers best corner (and any of us) unprepared  and giving the Broncos a more doable 1st and 2. It was a gamble, I don’t think Thomas was supposed to jump and catch the ball, it was thrown way too high: he just had to run the route with the same intensity as he was actually going to catch the ball. The corner (Norman, All-Pro this year) eat it and drew the penalty. Touchdown the next play, game closed, World Champions.

I really do think that something was going on, maybe he had a broken hand, or some kind of injury on one hand or the shoulder. Maybe this injury happened during the San Diego game or during the divisional round against the Steelers, where he truly played a bad game. I don’t know, we don’t know.

Maybe Manning’ throwing motions, after he got back from the foot injury, were so bad attempting those long and high balls that became the Manning-Thomas trademark in the past, that Kubiak removed them from the playbook or decided to use them only in desperation time. Maybe it is the reason: Denver trailed against the Steelers but was always up on the scoreboard against the Patriots and the Panthers: no desperation, no high long wounded ducks, no interceptions (ok a Ealy one).

Before to claim that Demayius did not perform and betrayed his one year old (with related holdout) huge contract, we should remember that too many things came into play in the 1 catch 8 yards stat from SB 50 and even with that stat, there will always be the holding penalty that allowed the lone offensive TD of Denver SB dismantling of the Panthers.

Go Broncos!!!


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