Catching 90 passes for 1,083 yards and five touchdowns would typically be seen as a strong season for an NFL wide receiver, but the response to Broncos wideout Demaryius Thomas’ 2016 campaign wasn’t greeted with non-stop fanfare.
Those numbers were his lowest in all three metrics since the 2011 season and the Broncos offense represented the biggest reason why the team fell short of the playoffs. New coach Vance Joseph’s response was to say that he wants Thomas to be “a dominant player all the time” and take on a bigger leadership role than he’s played in the past.
Thomas sounded ready to accept Joseph’s challenge when he spoke to the media on Tuesday.
“It means a lot [for Joseph to say that],” Thomas said, via the team’s website. “Definitely, the first thing I thought was more opportunities and chances to get the ball more, but also [that I can] be that guy to get the offense sparking. I’m excited about it and I look forward to it. I just have to step up to the plate.”
Thomas noted a couple of things he believes will help him this year. One is that he’s over a hip injury that limited him in the latter stages of the 2016 season and the other is the return of offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who ran the offense when Thomas broke out in his third NFL season. If the team can get improved quarterback play as well, the pieces for a bigger year for Thomas would all appear to be in place.