PHOENIX – Demaryius Thomas has been put on notice.
“I want 88 to be a dominant player all the time,” new Denver Broncos coach Vance Joseph said Tuesday, during the AFC coaches breakfast session. “I don’t want him to ease into games. I want him to be a guy to step out. It’s time.”
There’s little argument that Thomas is one of the NFL’s most talented wide receivers. But the big plays are too often undermined by bouts of inconsistency, which is why Joseph raises the bar of expectations.
Thomas caught 90 passes for 1,083 yards in 2016, when the Broncos transitioned to first-time starter Trevor Siemian, but he ranked third in the NFL with seven dropped passes along with two lost fumbles.
His receptions, yards and touchdown total (five) were his lowest marks since 2011.
Joseph, who succeeds Gary Kubiak, doesn’t mince words in expressing his vision. He knows there’s another level for Thomas that embodies greatness.
“He can take over a game,” said Joseph, who previously was the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator. “But I want his mindset, every game we play, to walk on the field and take over the game. OK?
“Running the football will force them to load the box and give him one-on-one opportunities. I want him to win every one-on-one. I want him to become a leader of our football team.”