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Thread: A Fast Friendship...interesting read by gray caldwell

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    Default A Fast Friendship...interesting read by gray caldwell

    Tuesday, May 4, 2010



    A Fast Friendship


    By Gray Caldwell
    DenverBroncos.com

    ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- It's not easy being a rookie.

    Whether it's learning the "foreign language" of NFL terminology, adapting to the speed of the game, getting acquainted with a new city or just enduring a little initiation from the veterans, there's always something new to take in.

    So when you can go through the process with a friend, it's that much easier.

    Such is the case for Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker.

    "We actually trained in Arizona together for three months," Thomas said. "Then when we found out we were both drafted (by the Broncos), we were excited to play with each other."

    In the process of working out together, the two became "really good friends," Decker said. But that bond grew even stronger when Thomas injured his foot, preventing him from participating in any of the drills at the NFL Scouting Combine.

    Decker missed several games his senior year after suffering a foot injury and was unable to participate at the combine, as well. Immediately, the two began to "bond in the training room," Decker joked.

    Their injuries might have been the reason, Head Coach Josh McDaniels ventured, that Thomas was available late in the first round and Decker lasted all the way to the third. But that didn't make the team shy away from either of the 6-foot-3 receivers, and the coach fully expects both players to make a return to the field in time to be ready for their rookie seasons.

    "We feel very comfortable with both players in terms of their injuries and the rehabilitation that they've gone through," McDaniels said. "We expect them to be able to contribute and learn and be out there in some way sometime in the spring. ... We're not going to rush anything. We'd rather that they be fully healthy and ready to compete than mostly healthy and thrown out there."

    With no way to judge the players at the combine, the team focused on what the receivers put on tape throughout their college careers.

    Thomas accumulated 120 receptions for 2,339 yards and 14 touchdowns at Georgia Tech, averaging more than 25 yards per catch as a senior.

    He put up those statistics in an offense dominated by the run. The triple-option attack led the ACC in 2009 by averaging more than 295 rushing yards per game. The Yellow Jackets ranked last in the ACC in passing offense, yet Thomas found a way to excel. He put up 1,154 receiving yards and eight toughdowns as a senior, averaging 82.4 yards receiving per game when his team averaged just 126.7.

    "That's what we put the most stock in -- what did he do as a football player on tape?" McDaniels said. "We're excited about Demaryius being on our football team. It certainly gives us the opportunity to have a bigger wide receiver that can do some different things, create some matchup problems and I think that's something that you're looking for."

    At Minnesota, Decker was the first player to haul in more than 200 catches and amass more than 3,000 yards receiving in school history, finishing his career with the Golden Gophers with 227 receptions for 3,119 yards and 24 touchdowns. He produced first downs on more than 70 percent of his catches and was tackled for a loss just four times in his career.

    Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the receiver was targeted 354 times in college, dropping just three passes.

    "(Decker) is another big receiver -- a smart kid with really good hands," McDaniels continued. "He's very versatile. He's done a lot of good things (at Minnesota) and he's very determined young man."

    Neither player participated in last weekend's rookie minicamp, but both watched the action from the sidelines, taking pointers from coaches as their teammates ran through drills.

    "Me and Bay Bay -- Demaryius -- are just cheerleaders at this point, but just trying to get mental reps watching the guys run routes and get in and out of their breaks," Decker said. "We're trying to take it in so when we're able to get on the field we do that."

    Meanwhile, both players are spending all their time in the playbook. Thomas said he is "trying to learn my way onto the field," the approach much of the 2010 rookie class is taking.

    The roster has six receivers who were with the team last season -- Jabar Gaffney, Brandon Lloyd, Kenny McKinley, Eddie Royal, Brandon Stokley and Matt Willis -- three college free agents and a first-year free agent in addition to the two drafted pass-catchers.

    Thomas and Decker said experiencing the trials of being a rookie along with a big group of first-year players makes it more fun, and in the end, they're all doing whatever it takes to get on the field and make an impact when the season rolls around.

    "We're excited to have the opportunity to come in here and help this team win," Decker said.

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    Decker's numbers are gaudy!

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    Receiver was targeted 354 times in college, dropping just three passes. He produced first downs on more than 70 percent of his catches and was tackled for a loss just four times in his career.
    This is scary better check his hands for stickum.

    If he makes the team HE will indeed be a worthy replacement for Eddie MAC.

    Does any one see the caparison to what SAN has been doing the past few years. going with really big WR's I think they have 5 or 6 on the squad over 6'4", a nightmare for DB's

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jrwiz View Post
    This is scary better check his hands for stickum.

    If he makes the team HE will indeed be a worthy replacement for Eddie MAC.

    Does any one see the caparison to what SAN has been doing the past few years. going with really big WR's I think they have 5 or 6 on the squad over 6'4", a nightmare for DB's
    I would think/hope he makes the team........
    Living here in big 10 country......I heard Deckers name mentioned quite a bit.
    He set alot of receiving records at Minnesota.....I realize it was just Minnesota......but that is still pretty good......esp. missing most of his senior year.
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    Could be another two headed beast like Smith and McCafferey. I had no idea they were both so tall! Rebuilding a team sucks, but its cool to see the construction materials in action. Hope they pan out. Them plus Royal in a Welker type position could give us some interesting 3-5 receiver sets.

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    I'm happy we got these guys but it's hard to get exceited about Mcd's offense based on what I saw last year.

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    Last years production was limited to the play of a team that ALL were learning a new scheme from their coaches that were larning it first hand from Josh.
    Not to mention an OL that was less than stellar in pass protect and almost lss efective in run blocking.
    Last but not least having your starting QB playing hurt for most if the season.

    I suspect the O will be much better IF the OL gets better this year with all the new beef.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jrwiz View Post
    Last years production was limited to the play of a team that ALL were learning a new scheme from their coaches that were larning it first hand from Josh.
    Not to mention an OL that was less than stellar in pass protect and almost lss efective in run blocking.
    Last but not least having your starting QB playing hurt for most if the season.

    I suspect the O will be much better IF the OL gets better this year with all the new beef.
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    Honestly I'm tired of the excuses. No matter what the reason, the offense sucked, especially the play calling and game planning. With one year under his belt Mcd should be better but with the new offensive line full of rookies I'm scared it will be yet another year of poor offense and tons of excuses.

    I do hope you are right though

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    Quote Originally Posted by broncofaninfla View Post
    Honestly I'm tired of the excuses. No matter what the reason, the offense sucked, especially the play calling and game planning. With one year under his belt Mcd should be better but with the new offensive line full of rookies I'm scared it will be yet another year of poor offense and tons of excuses.

    I do hope you are right though
    those are not excuses but REASONs for the failure, to execute a game plan.

    Yes the rookie OLINE could be a problem in pass protect mode as it is much more complicated and requires more coordination than power blocking does.

    I suspect we will see more running game this year until the passing game gets on track.

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