On Now
Coming Up
  • Tue., Feb. 27, 2018 12:00 AM MST NFL Scouting Combine begins Feb. 27-March 5: NFL Scouting Combine, Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana.
  • Mon., Mar. 12, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs may negotiate with unrestricted free agents March 12-14: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2017 player contracts at 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until 4:00 p.m., New York time, on March 14.
  • Wed., Mar. 14, 2018 2:00 PM MDT 2018 league year and free agency period begin

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must exercise options for 2018 on all players who have option clauses in their 2017 contracts.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit qualifying offers to their Restricted Free Agents with expiring contracts to retain a Right of First Refusal/Compensation.

    Prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time, clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2017 contracts who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

    Top 51 begins. All clubs must be under the 2018 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    All 2017 player contracts will expire at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The 2018 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m., New York time.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    The first day of the 2018 league year will end at 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14. Clubs will receive a personnel notice that will include all transactions submitted to the league office during the period between 4:00 p.m., New York time, and 11:59:59 p.m., New York time, on March 14.

    Trading period for 2018 begins at 4:00 p.m., New York time, after expiration of all 2017 contracts.

  • Sun., Mar. 25, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Annual League Meetings begin March 25-28: Annual League Meetings, Orlando, Florida.
  • Mon., Apr. 16, 2018 12:00 AM MDT Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs April 16: Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.
  • Thu., Apr. 26, 2018 6:00 PM MDT 2018 NFL Draft begins April 26-28: 2018 NFL Draft, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX.
Print
RSS

Thomas Expects to be Better

Posted Jun 5, 2014

After a breakout campaign, Julius Thomas is maintaining mile-high expectations for 2014.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Just 30 minutes into the 2013 season, Julius Thomas dwarfed his career statistics prior to that point.

After one catch for five yards in 2011 and 2012 combined, Thomas exploded against the Ravens for 97 yards and two touchdowns on four catches -- just in the first half. The career game was a preview of a career year to follow, but for Thomas, a Pro Bowl season wasn't good enough.

"By no standards was I my best in any aspect of the game," Thomas said after practice Wednesday. "That’s what’s really exciting about these offseason OTAs for me is I really get a chance to work on things and improve."

Improve on that season? Defenses will be shaking in their boots if Thomas can be a better player than the one who racked up 788 yards and 12 touchdowns in 14 games last season.

"I hold myself to a very high standard," he said. "I’m spending a lot of time going back and looking at last year’s tape these last couple weeks and just seeing so many areas that I can improve in."

Last week, Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase said the offense, despite scoring at a record pace, left some points on the field in 2013. Thomas agrees with that assessment and sees room for improved execution in key situations.

But even if exceeding his production as a receiver last year is a tall order, Thomas is confident he hasn't approached his ceiling as a blocker in the run game. He called himself a "decent" blocker by the end of last season and is now "probably starting to get close to that above average range."

"[Tight Ends Coach Clancy Barone] always says, ‘What makes you a good athlete in the receiving game, you’ve got to kind of fight that when you’re run blocking,'" Thomas said. "Good blockers are usually slower guys. You’re out there running around and your feet are getting tangled and you’re moving too fast sometimes."

"So I think that I’m starting to learn the pace of blocking and that’s helping me out a lot.”

Developing the feel for blocking after moving from basketball to football takes time, and Thomas points out the latter also requires more work in the weight room. With one year of college football under his belt and two of his three pro seasons limited by injury, Thomas hasn't had the time most players do to develop.

"I always like to remind people it’s tough to learn when you’re going up against the best people in the world," he said. "They say ‘Just go out there and block [defensive end] DeMarcus Ware.’ Well, he’s one of the best people in the world at not getting blocked."

Facing a player of Ware's caliber has motivated Thomas to take his game "to another level." At the same time, Thomas said Ware has been very helpful during OTAs, communicating and offering plenty of instruction on the field.

"His leadership and his assistance in helping me become a blocker is definitely going to pay off for me," Thomas said.

Thomas' focus on exceeding what was easily the best season by a Broncos tight end since Shannon Sharpe's time echoes the whole offense's lack of satisfaction with 2013's record-toppling campaign.

Even after unprecedented production, the team believes it can be better.

"We’ve seen the tape," Thomas said. "We’ve seen how much we left out there and like I said, I saw how much I left out there last year. And I think we have that motivation to go out there and even be better."

"None of us think we’ve achieved the most we can. We know that we can come back and even be a better offense. We’ve just have to push each other, stay motivated, stay together."