Thomas eager to play big role in receiver-friendly offense
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has a little extra spring in his step in these offseason workouts.
That’s what a healthy hip will do. Same with having back his old offensive coordinator, Mike McCoy, who will feature a more uptempo, receiver-friendly style in his second go-around with the Denver Broncos.
Thomas definitely likes the sound of that. He’s also playing a role in bringing rookie receivers Carlos Henderson and Isaiah McKenzie up to speed. At the moment, they’re sinking in all the terminology — a feeling Thomas knows all too well.
“I couldn’t even line up the first time running this offense,” Thomas said of his rookie season in 2010. “It will take some time, but they’re picking it up quick.”
When McCoy was around the first time, Thomas started to flourish. He caught 94 passes for 1,434 yards and 10 TDs in 2012 — McCoy’s last season, before he left to become the head coach with the now Los Angeles Chargers. Fired by the Chargers after last season, McCoy was brought back to revamp the offense under first-year Broncos coach Vance Joseph.
“Of course, I’m a receiver, so I want to catch the ball,” said Thomas, who had similar catches (90) in Gary Kubiak’s run-oriented offense last season, but only five TDs. “It was more run with the Kubiak offense. I’m excited about having our old offense back.”
That and being healthy. Thomas said he hurt his hip against Carolina in the season opener and wasn’t the same the rest of the year. Running certain routes was even difficult.
“It’s the best I’ve felt,” Thomas said after Thursday’s workout. “There’s more joy. I’m having a lot more fun.”
McCoy hasn’t catered the playbook to the individual strengths of quarterbacks Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch. This week, it’s all about installing the formations and concepts.
“By the time we leave for vacation, we’ll have a good feel for what they like,” McCoy said. “There will be plenty of things we’ll add come training camp. We’re learning about ourselves as an offense right now, both coaches and players, trying to figure out what do we do best.”
The QBs are splitting reps — right down the middle.
“They’re excited and want to learn everything,” McCoy said. “They see it on paper, see the success we’ve had in this system, going way back in years, not just my time in San Diego but before that and all the other thievery we’ve taken from around the league.”
So far, McCoy likes what he sees out of Lynch, the first-round pick a season ago who backed up Siemian. But there’s a long way to go.
“The No. 1 thing he has to work on is really learning our system and executing our system,” McCoy said. “He’s a very talented player. He can make every throw we’re asking him to make, or you need him to make to win a football game and move the ball up and down the field.
“And you love his size, with his ability to sit in the pocket and see the whole field. He’s just poised in the pocket and throw those comebacks, those out-routes effortlessly.”
Thomas has been staying after the workouts to catch passes from Siemian and Lynch, just to strengthen their rapport.
“It gets better and better every day,” Thomas said. “Trying to get the timing down, doing whatever we can to get that timing down.”
This helps, too: Going against Denver’s “No Fly Zone” secondary. It’s a solid test — especially of his patience. The defensive backs do like to yap.
“The trash talk isn’t too bad,” Thomas said. “Going out there and getting your feet wet against what’s considered the best secondary in league. ... It’s not easy. You look forward to it.
“It’s good to go up against those guys.”
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