Tag Archive: Demaryius Thomas


NFL Quick Hits

This is a feature I’m going to try every week where I post some hopefully brief thoughts on the past weekend of NFL games. I don’t know if I’ll have time to do the same with College Football games, but I will post them if I have time to write them all up. Hopefully you guys enjoy this segment.

1- The Falcons Are Who We Thought They Were- I’m sure most of you guys know I’m a Falcons fan by now, and that loss to the Saints was tough. The Falcons scored on their opening drives in both halves, but otherwise were very inconsistent on offense. I’m wondering why they ran the ball so infrequently despite Steven Jackson having solid success on the ground, and I’m also wondering how they managed to hold Drew Brees and the Saints to 23 points despite a lackluster pass rush. I’m not too worried about the offensive line yet, I think they will gel and become a stronger unit, but the amount of pressure in Matt Ryan’s face and the inexplicable avoidance of the run game and quick-hitting pass game to try to counter the pressure was frustrating. Brees was on point as always and I was impressed with the Saints dramatic improvement on defense. Rob Ryan has done a great job with them up to this point, and the pressure they got on Ryan and the looks they were showing him pre-snap stuck out to me. The Falcons will be fine, but I don’t think they are a 13-3 team like they were a year ago. Maybe I’m overreacting, but I think they are in the 10-6/11-5 area. We shall see.

2- Peyton Manning Needs To Stop Playing On Rookie- The way Manning was playing on Thursday night it is evident to me he was just playing Madden on a rookie setting, and a veteran with his resume should be playing on All-Madden at least, and preferably with a number of the sliders raised manually beyond that. Manning was obviously masterful, and that was despite having no running backs with a yard per carry average over 3.8 and only gaining 65 total yards on the ground. Joe Flacco came down to Earth after his fantastic playoff performances and it’s clear to me that he is missing Anquan Boldin and Dennis Pitta right now. Torrey Smith is a stud, but he can only do so much without a significant threat to take some pressure off of him. Dallas Clark surprised me with 7 catches for 87 yards, and if he can keep that up the loss of Pitta shouldn’t be quite as significant. I am a huge Demaryius Thomas fan and had a top 20 grade on him out of Georgia Tech and he has completely lived up to my expectations for him. I definitely expected Decker to be the #2 guy and Welker to be the 3rd option, but if the first week is any indication then Welker is going to get a lot of love from Manning this year. I don’t think 2 catches for 32 yards will be a typical week for Decker by any means, but I think I definitely underrated Welker’s potential impact coming into the year. I was also blown away by how well Duke Ihenacho and Shaun Phillips played. I liked Ihenacho out of San Jose State but realized some of his athletic limitations, however he had 12 tackles (including ELEVEN solo stops), 1 tackle for loss and 3 pass deflections as well as some pretty nice hits in this game. Phillips had 2.5 sacks and 3 QB hits on the night and definitely helped make up for the absence of Von Miller for at least one night. The Broncos looked like they were in mid-season form, but I don’t think the Ravens are going to have that much trouble on offense or defense for the entire season. They have lots of new faces on their roster and they need time to gel, and Manning took full advantage. Don’t hit the panic button yet Ravens fans.

3- EJ Manuel Is Making Me Look Stupid- I was pretty clear that I was not a fan of EJ Manuel at FSU and while it is still very early in his career my analysis of him is looking quite foolish right now. I have been very impressed with how Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett have managed Manuel starting from his first pre-season snaps. They haven’t asked him to go out there and be Tom Brady, but much like Cam Newton his rookie season they will likely open up the playbook and let him attack more as he becomes more comfortable. I was happy to see Robert Woods get his first NFL catch and his first NFL touchdown, but Manuel got to see first hand that there’s almost nobody better than Tom Brady when the game is on the line. He may not have had a great day statistically, but when it counted he took the Pats down the field and got them in position to win the game. Danny Amendola predictably had a good game, I loved what Shane Vereen did and I was very sad to see that he is going to miss significant time due to a broken wrist (which he apparently suffered on the first play of the game!). I am hoping that Spiller was given limited touches because of his lost fumble, and not because he is inexplicably being mismanaged again in 2013. Regardless, Bills fans should be very encouraged by the early returns on EJ Manuel.

4- “Same Old Bungles”- That is for my good friend Ryan Koons who is now an active duty marine. He is a die hard Bengals fan and whenever they manage to lose a game like this that is what he would always say. I have to say I really thought those days were behind Cincinnati because on paper I thought they were ready to win the AFC North. However, Andy Dalton continues to make me wonder about just how far the Bengals can go with him as a quarterback even in spite of the absolutely fantastic play of AJ Green. The Bengals have tons of talent on defense, they’ve got weapons on offense, but if they are going to win close games and go deep in the playoffs they need Dalton to play better and limit his turnovers. The run game deserves some ire as well as the Bengals only averaged 3 yards per touch and totaled 63 yards on the ground. On the other side I thought Jay Cutler, overall, had a good game and Brandon Marshall was fantastic. The Bears running game was sluggish as well, and hopefully that offensive line will slowly gel and improve over the course of the season. I know that probably makes Bears fans nervous because they’ve been waiting for that offensive front to improve for years, but I’m hoping this is the year for their sake.

5- Reggie Bush Is Dangerous, Christian Ponder Is Not- The Lions put up 38 points on the Vikings defense and a lot of that is due to Reggie Bush totaling 90 yards on the ground (4.3 ypc) and 101 yards and one touchdown as a receiver (with a long of 77). That’s very impressive production, and it comes despite only hauling in four of his eight targets on the day. Matt Stafford had another high attempt, high yardage day and while it wasn’t the most efficient performance it certainly got the job done. I wouldn’t expect too many four catch, 37 yard days for Calvin Johnson, but Bush, Nate Burleson and Joique Bell took the pressure off of him this week. On the other side Christian Ponder continues to prove his doubters right as he threw 3 interceptions, got sacked three times and lost a fumble on the day. He also spoiled a fantastic game for Jerome Simpson who had 7 catches and 140 yards which I certainly didn’t expect from him. Adrian Peterson had a 78 yard touchdown run on his first carry but gained only 15 additional yards on his next 17 carries, but still managed 93 yards and two touchdowns rushing as well as 18 yards and another touchdown receiving. I will be the first to admit that I liked Ponder out of FSU (clearly I’m 0/2 on scouting Florida State quarterbacks right now) but he doesn’t have the same velocity he had prior to the injuries he sustained his senior year, he isn’t making good decisions and honestly I wouldn’t be surprised to see Matt Cassel start at some point this season for the Vikings. That’s not a good sign, and it likely means the Vikings will be looking to draft a quarterback early in the 2014 NFL Draft. I have been patient with Ponder and he occasionally shows signs of life, but unfortunately now that he’s in his 3rd year these kinds of struggles won’t be tolerated anymore. He’s got to step up his game and quick.

6- Pryor Makes Oakland Offense Almost Competent- I really feel like I am ruining any credibility I have as a quarterback scout but I liked Tyler Wilson a lot out of Arkansas and I didn’t like Terrelle Pryor out of Ohio State, but I am glad the Raiders elected to start Pryor over Matt Flynn. Pryor’s legs gave the Raiders life in this game and while I don’t think it will get them to the playoffs it should make them more competitive than they would have been with Flynn at the helm. I didn’t get to see as much of this game as I wanted to because the feed went out for it multiple times at the bar I was watching the games at (for some reason it was streaming online, not sure why), so outside of Pryor impressing me as a runner and Andrew Luck being a stud I don’t have too many thoughts on this game. Sorry guys.

7- Nolan Nawrocki Your Crow Is Ready- I know it’s early, and I know it’s only his first start, but it was fun to see Geno Smith rally the Jets to an unlikely win against Tampa Bay week one. I’m not going to say he made some unbelievable plays on that final drive to steal victory from the jaws of defeat, but if Sanchez was the QB on that final drive I don’t think the Jets would have won that game. Smith isn’t known for his scrambling, but his athleticism was obvious at the NFL combine and he gave the Jets a chance to get lucky thanks to his skill set. He wasn’t mind-blowingly efficient by any means, but it was definitely a solid first start based on what I was able to see. Unfortunately for Bucs fans Josh Freeman struggled (though the Jets do still have a good, well-coached defense) and despite 154 yards from Vincent Jackson he only managed 210 yards on 31 attempts, was sacked three times and threw one touchdown and one interception. I wasn’t a Freeman fan coming out and his first season it really looked like he might make me eat my words, but he seemed to plateau after that rookie season and hasn’t quite been the same since.

8- Kaepernick Is The Truth- I wasn’t wild about Kaepernick’s throwing motion or accuracy coming out of Nevada, but Jim Harbaugh has done a fantastic job with him and that offense is now tailor made for him. It certainly helps having weapons like Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis (even though Davis had a drop or two that he shouldn’t have) while Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham are injured, but his athleticism, pure arm strength and seemingly improving accuracy really stood out to me against the Packers. Green Bay had absolutely no answer for the Kaepernick-Boldin connection and while they managed to keep him bottled up as a runner he shredded them for 412 yards and three touchdowns as a passer. The Packers will have to go back to the drawing board now to try to figure out how to slow Kaepernick down if they meet again in the playoffs. I thought Aaron Rodgers was great as usual even if he did come up just short, I still love Randall Cobb, and I was happy Jermichael Finley bounced back from that drop that led to Rodgers only interception with some solid catches, good yards after the catch and that impressive touchdown. The Packers should be fine and I think they will be a playoff team, but I’m sure they and their fans are annoyed that another referee controversy led to a do-over for the 49ers that led to an Anquan Boldin touchdown. Maybe I’m alone here, but I think the NFL downgrading Bill Leavy for that mistake is ridiculous. Leavy is a veteran official and while he made a mistake this just reeks of an overreaction to me.

9- RGIII Was Rusty, The Eagles Offense Wasn’t- The Eagles defense made this interesting in the second half as RGIII and the Redskins started to knock some of the rust off, but in the first half RGIII had a lot of issues fading away from throws and not stepping into his passes. He still did some of that in the 2nd half, but he was definitely much more crisp and effective once his receivers stopped dropping passes and Kyle Shanahan adjusted to get him into a rhythm with quicker, easier throws. Michael Vick was impressive, though he’s still the same Michael Vick that will hold onto the ball too long and take unnecessary risks with his body at times. LeSean McCoy looks like an ideal fit for Chip Kelly’s offensive scheme and he should have a huge year. I was also happy to see that one of my favorites from a couple years ago Mychal Kendricks looked much better (based on what I saw live) and was pressuring RGIII pretty consistently. I’m not sure he’s great in coverage, but it was fun to see him rushing some of Griffin’s throws. Additionally, that interception Cary Williams made on that out route that Griffin threw was nothing short of fantastic. What a terrific play.

10- Oh Philip Rivers, You Poor Bastard- Rivers was absolutely fantastic in the 1st half and he started off the 2nd half in the same fashion. He had the Chargers up 28-7 and seemed poised for a statement victory in week one of the 2013 season. Unfortunately, much like he and the Bolts have in the past, they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Rivers and the offense began to sputter, the Texans woke up on offense, and the rally was complete once Brian Cushing read Rivers’ eyes beautifully and made a diving interception that he then returned for a game-tying touchdown. The Texans would go on to move the ball down the field and position Randy Bullock for a game winning 41 yard field goal. Andre Johnson continued to show why he is one of the best in the game with a 12 reception, 146 yard performance, Owen Daniels chipped in 67 yards and two touchdowns, and Deandre Hopkins added five receptions and 66 yards. I thought Arian Foster seemed determined to make a big play all game and didn’t seem focused on doing the little things. He was palming the ball and holding it away from his body, he dropped multiple catchable balls, and almost seemed to be showing off and looking to make someone look foolish. Maybe that’s just me over-extrapolating, but he seemed off tonight. I’d be surprised if Gary Kubiak doesn’t talk to him about how he’s holding the ball after he and the other coaches watch film.

Alright, so that was a LOT less brief than I expected it to be. I guess I had more to say than I anticipated, though I shouldn’t really be surprised since I am so long winded anyway. Sorry that was such a long post, hopefully you enjoyed it anyway!

Thanks for reading,

–Tom

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I thought this would be interesting to look at to see how certain players were doing thus far. There are some players who are playing great and exceeding expectations and there are players who are not living up to the hype thus far, just like every year. I thought it would be interesting to take a look at each players’ stat-line now that we are more than halfway through the season. Unfortunately the stats for the offensive lineman that were drafted in the first round are only current through week seven.

NFL Draft Pick Stats:

Sam Bradford- 201/334 (60.2%), 5.76 YPA, 12 TD/8 INT

Ndamukong Suh- 33 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 3 TFL, 1 INT

Gerald McCoy- 21 tackles, 0 sack, 5 TFL

Trent Williams- Only 2 sacks allowed through week 7

Eric Berry- 50 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 FF, 2 INT, 4 PD’s

Russell Okung- Injured for majority of season

Joe Haden- 34 tackles, 2 INT’s, 7 PD’s

Rolando McClain- 42 tackles, .5 sacks, 3 TFL, 3 PD’s

CJ Spiller- 41 attempts, 164 yards, 4.0 ypc, 18 receptions, 81 yards, 4.5 ypc, 1 TD, 1 fumble

Tyson Alualu- 24 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 TFL

Anthony Davis- 6 sacks allowed through week 7

Ryan Matthews- 87 attempts, 382 yards, 2 TD, 15 receptions, 92 yards, 3 fumbles (all lost)

Brandon Graham- 7 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 TFL, 1 FF

Earl Thomas- 47 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 INT’s, 5 PD’s

Jason Pierre-Paul- 10 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PD’s

Derrick Morgan- 5 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 1 PD (injured in 4th game)

Mike Iupati- 1 sack allowed after 7 weeks

Maurkice Pouncey- 1.5 sacks allowed after 7 weeks

Sean Weatherspoon- 29 tackles, 1 sack, 1 PD

Kareem Jackson- 46 tackles, 2 INT’s, 7 PD’s

Jermaine Gresham- 40 receptions, 297 yards, 3 TD’s, 2 fumbles (1 lost)

Demaryius Thomas- 19 receptions, 266 yards, 2 TD’s, 2 fumbles (1 lost)

Bryan Bulaga- 4 sacks through week 7

Dez Bryant- 41 receptions, 539 yards, 5 TD’s, 14 PR’s- 202 yards, 2 TD’s

Tim Tebow- 1/1, 3 yards, 1 TD

Dan Williams- 16 tackles, 1 TFL

Devin McCourty- 48 tackles, 2 INT’s, 8 PD’s

Jared Odrick- 1 tackle, 1 TFL

Kyle Wilson- 18 tackles, 4 PD’s

Jahvid Best- 124 attempts, 380 yards, 3.1 ypc, 4 TD’s, 45 receptions, 360 yards, 1 TD, 1 Fumble (1 lost)

Jerry Hughes- 3 tackles

Patrick Robinson- 21 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 PD’s

Now, obviously stats don’t tell the whole story, but considering the fact that I have not had time to watch all of these guys play individually (much less multiple times) I thought it would be interesting to compare some of their stats. Some guys have been better than others, and it is still far too early to determine who has “panned out” as a prospect and who hasn’t, but there are a few guys that warrant additional conversation: Sam Bradford, Ndamukong Suh, Trent Williams, Eric Berry, Joe Haden, Earl Thomas, Kareem Jackson, Dez Bryant and Devin McCourty.

Sam Bradford- Bradford has definitely outperformed my expectations for him, but my expectations for him were that he would play very badly if he were to start as a rookie. He has certainly played better than I expected, and I can readily admit that I am wrong in that regard. Sam Bradford is not a bust, at least not yet. His stat line looks solid, especially for a rookie QB, but 210 of his 324 passing attempts have been on throws that are 10 yards or shorter as far as distance downfield from the line of scrimmage. He has attempted almost as many passes (54) on throws behind the line of scrimmage as he has on throws 11-20 yards downfield (56). I think it is fair to say that his stat line, therefore, is misleading. He is not being asked to make a lot of tough throws or difficult reads, and that makes sense. He is a rookie QB transitioning from a spread offense to a pro-style offense. I definitely underrated his intangibles which played a significant role in me thinking he was going to be a bust. I didn’t know whether I should believe everyone who said he was smart and made all of the calls at the line of scrimmage or whether I should believe my eyes that seemed to indicate he was taking audibles and calls from the sideline every play. I went with my gut and I was wrong, but I can admit that. However, I am going to be watching him carefully to see how he does when he is under pressure, how well he goes through his progressions and how often he checks down before going through all of his reads this weekend. I am very excited to see him play because I haven’t seen much of him this year.

Ndamukong Suh- Suh has frankly lived up to all of the hype he had going into the draft this year. 6.5 sacks for a rookie defensive tackle is absolutely absurd, especially at this point in the season. It is not unrealistic to assume that he could hit 10 sacks as a rookie defensive tackle on a young, relatively inexperienced defense. He is just an absolute beast, and that is why I had him graded as the top player in the draft this past year. He has played as well as anyone could have expected so far this year from a statistical standpoint, and I have a feeling he is going to be an incredibly disruptive and dominant player throughout his NFL career.

Trent Williams- Williams is another player that I was simply off about. I didn’t think he could stick at LT in the NFL, but it seems I was wrong. Through week seven he had only given up two sacks, which is impressive for a rookie LT (especially one that I thought had Pro-Bowl potential at RT but would only be a solid/pretty good starter at LT). I’m sure some of this has to do with having a veteran QB in Donovan McNabb under center, and though I have not watched him and scouted him specifically he seems to have played well this year. He has certainly outperformed my expectations for him as a LT thus far. I look forward to getting a chance to watch him play more soon so I can see how he plays for myself.

Eric Berry- I have not seen any Chiefs games this year, but Berry’s stat line is awfully impressive for a rookie safety. I think it is safe to say that he is going to be a dynamic playmaker in that secondary for a long time, and while I can’t specifically say how he has been playing in coverage or versus the run I know what he was capable of in college and he was definitely one of my highest rated prospects in last year’s draft class. Thus far, he seems to have been a good selection.

Joe Haden- Haden was a guy who seemed to have some controversy surrounding him. Now, I haven’t scouted him specifically this year, but his stat line is pretty impressive for a rookie corner on an overall bad team. Two interceptions and seven pass deflections speaks to the ball skills that I thought would make him a top corner in this league, but I am very much looking forward to re-watching the Browns-Falcons game so I can see how he played with my own eyes.

Earl Thomas- Thomas was another one of my favorite prospects from last draft. I had him in my top 10 on my Top 100 Big Board and for good reason: the guy is really talented. I loved the Seahawks draft last year with Russell Okung and Earl Thomas, but unfortunately Okung has been injured and has not had much of an impact yet. Thomas, however, is a different story: 47 tackles, four interceptions and five pass deflections? That is pretty incredible for a rookie defensive back, especially on a defense with as many issues as Seattle’s. He seems to be playing very well so far, and I hope he continues to make me look smart.

Kareem Jackson- Jackson was a guy that I thought was a very quality early 2nd round pick at corner, but he went #20 and that was a little earlier than I thought he would go. He has had his ups and downs this year, but overall he has been impressive for a rookie corner. Corners playing this early in their career are going to get beat, and he has had those experiences, but 46 tackles, two interceptions and seven pass deflections is a stat line you shouldn’t scoff at for a rookie corner. I liked him as a corner coming out of Alabama, and he seems to be playing well for the Texans thus far.

Dez Bryant- Ah, Dez Bryant. The “prima-donna” WR with bad work ethic and serious character concerns. What a joke that has turned out to be. I thought Dez Bryant had top 10 talent and pro-bowl potential written all over him, and so far it looks like I (and many other people who didn’t get sucked in by the media’s bullshit) were right. He is a dynamic playmaker as a receiver and as a punt returner and he is one of the only reasons the Cowboys are still worth watching at this point.

Devin McCourty- McCourty was a guy that I thought was a little overrated when the draft finally came around, but I was pretty surprised to see him get selected in the 1st round. He seems to be playing well though and I can admit that I was off on him. 48 tackles, two interceptions and eight pass deflections is a nice stat line, and the Patriots are one of the best teams in the NFL at drafting players that make quick impacts and transition well to the NFL. Clearly they saw something I didn’t in McCourty, but they seem to have made the right choice so far.

I would love to go through every draft pick and write a blurb about them, but it would take a really long time and I am so long-winded that this would easily be a 3,000-5,000 word blog post, so I am going to stop it here. I am going to get to work on a new mock draft as well as some RB rankings shortly, but I thought that it would be interesting to see how some of the most highly publicized draft picks have performed thus far. Later on I might talk about some guys who were not drafted in the 1st round who are having a significant impact if I have time.

Thanks for reading!

–Tom