Houston Texans made waves when they traded with the Denver Broncos for their former number one wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas.
The Houston Texans front office made a statement to the rest of the AFC when they traded for five-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl 50 champion, Demaryius Thomas. The team was in a very bad place when their second leading player in touchdowns and receptions, Will Fuller, was done for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.
Thomas isn’t the dynamic vertical threat that Fuller is, but he is a valuable veteran in the locker room that has gone all the way and won a Super Bowl. The Texans needed a receiver that would be capable of making big plays when their number was called and Thomas was able to do that in his debut against his former team. He offers a different skill set than Fuller, but he is still able to beat his defender and make plays. At 6-foot-3 inches, he offers the team as another physical receiver who can make contested catches with ease.
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Thomas first catch displays his strength and elusiveness as he was able to break away from the grasps of defensive back Tramaine Brock and hit the second level of the defense for 31 yards. Texans like to implement short passes/screens for their receivers to allow them to make plays in the open field. Thomas showed his speed to get downfield in a hurry and put the offense in Broncos’ territory.
Thomas is a load to tackle in the open field and it took multiple Broncos’ defenders to bring him down. The physicality he displayed in that play is an element that the Texans can’t have enough of as they desire for the receivers to be able to gain tough yards when things don’t go according to plan. Tight end Jordan Thomas didn’t completely seal the edge in that play which allowed Brock an opportunity to blow up the play but Thomas showed his athletic ability to make the defender miss for a big gain.
The Texans got a versatile receiver that is capable of lining up in the slot or split out wide and battle with boundary cornerbacks. His strong big frame and willingness to block allows him to be present on running downs and to create lanes for the running backs.
There were concerns in how Texans number one receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, would fare without Fuller to demand extra attention from opposing defenses, but Thomas proved sufficient enough in his debut to keep defenses honest and prevent them from rolling all their coverage to Hopkins. He finished the game with 10 receptions, 105 yards, and a touchdown in his first game playing with Thomas.
Regardless of the fact that it was Thomas first game and there are going to be growing pains as he learns the Texans playbook, Hopkins continued to produce due to the fact that Thomas proved early on in the game that he was capable of holding his own as the number two receiver in the Texans offense. Despite having caught the ball only three times, he showed he was capable of making plays as the second fiddle, having 61 yards in his first game.
Even though his game is different than Fuller’s, he’ll be able to continue to improve with Deshaun Watson who is statistically a significant upgrade over Case Keenum at quarterback and won’t be too pressured with other players capable of creating plays within the offense.