ENGLEWOOD, Colo.** – Recently Demaryius Thomas raised some eyebrows when he said that his goal is to break NFL records in "basically about everything a receiver can do."
He's not the only Broncos receiver with his sights set on historic marks, however. Emmanuel Sanders understands Thomas' motivation for setting big goals that onlookers might scoff at.
"You want guys to set those kinds of goals," said Sanders. "For me, that's my goal also, to break as many records as I can and to be to the best player. For me, I want to be the best wide receiver in the National Football League this year. That's my goal, that's why I work my butt off in OTAs. You want guys to have goals like that. I think Demaryius is capable of that."
Many of the Broncos convened on UCHealth Training Center on Thursday to prepare for opening of training camp on Friday.
Thomas' comments have sparked a debate over his capabilities to rack-up air-raid numbers under the balanced offense of newly appointed Head Coach Gary Kubiak and Offensive Coordinator Rick Dennison. Both Kubiak and Dennison are proponents of an offense that leans on the ground game just as much as passing, leading most to believe that Thomas' chances at breaking the league record are firmly in the past.
On the other hand, during Kubiak's stint as offensive coordinator for the Broncos from 1995 to 2005, Denver had a stunningly proficient season in receiving yards in 2000, led by a pair of All-Pro wide outs in Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey. Smith, a two-time Super Bowl champion, tallied 101 receptions for 1,317 yards while McCaffrey, a three-time Super Bowl champion hauled in 100 receptions for 1,602 yards.
"As a coach, you love that," said Kubiak of Thomas' goals. "He's a great player… I can't wait to get to work with him. I know that we have ground to make up mentally. That's a concern, we have to make that up, but physically, we'll find out where he is and I'm looking forward to him doing great things."
Kubiak's offense in 2000 didn't just produce a pair of 1,000-yard receivers, but also a 1,000-yard rusher in running back Mike Anderson. In his inaugural season, Anderson racked-up 1,487 yards and received the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
His offense may have been balanced, but that didn't affect the Broncos' impressive numbers on either side of the offensive spectrum.
"No. 1, I like having guys with goals like that. That's what it's about," said Executive Vice President of Football Operations and General Manager, John Elway. "You always have lofty goals and the bottom line is with Demaryius, he has that ability to be able to do that…. I think there's a concept with the offense and how we do that but there's also a lot of things that are built into it… I think he can get there."