|08-13-2007, 04:30 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2006
Broncos' Thomas eager to play
Broncos' Thomas eager to play
Preseason game first action since troubles in Florida
SAN FRANCISCO - There are many with the Broncos who would like a good showing tonight in the team's preseason opener.
There are many who hope things will go their way.
But defensive tackle Marcus Thomas figures way beyond like or hope. No, he says he needs this one.
A little less than one year after he played his last game with the University of Florida - he was thrown off the team for failed drug tests and not meeting coach Urban Meyer's checklist for his return - Thomas believes his new football day officially might start tonight at Bill Walsh Field at Monster Park.
"C'mon, you know that's true, everybody knows that's true," Thomas said. "I've been out so long, I just can't wait to get on that field again, to get under those lights again. To feel, you know, when you're right there before the game starts."
Thomas was the Broncos' fourth-round pick in the draft in April and constituted the team's body of work during the second day of the draft.
Thomas, a no-question top-15 pick on most teams' boards before the draft, lost football for almost one season and three rounds of draft position because of what happened off the field.
On draft day, Thomas said he knew he was entering the league "already on 2.9 strikes."
Thomas was suspended for the Gators' opener last season after testing positive for marijuana and returned only to be suspended indefinitely Sept. 20 for failing a second marijuana test. Thomas appealed the suspension to the school, saying the second test was related to the first.
The suspension was reduced to two games, and Thomas was back with the team in October.
But to return, Thomas signed an agreement with Meyer that he would meet a 7 p.m. curfew, not leave Gainesville, Fla., to visit his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla., and would attend drug education classes four nights a week and a 12-step program on weekends.
After Thomas left town, missed curfew and missed some of those classes, Meyer kicked him from the team. So tonight will be the first time Thomas has lined up in a game since then.
"I'm just trying to do the best I can to prove to the coaches that I'm getting better," Thomas said. "That's all you can do, is show them that you're coming along. Everybody else is saying it's a preseason game, but for me, it's like my national championship game, I might even hope for a ring, you know. I've got to get back out there. I'm really excited to get out there for it."
"Marcus has done a good job," said Broncos coach Mike Shanahan, who repeatedly has said he "just couldn't pass up" Thomas in the draft. "He's been the kind of person we think he can be so far, and on the field right now, he's like all young guys. He needs to get stronger and to understand what he has to do to have a long career in this league."
Shanahan wanted Thomas badly enough, the team traded sixth- and seventh-round picks and a fourth-rounder in the 2008 draft to the Minnesota Vikings to move into the fourth round to get the defensive tackle.
Thomas has lined up during most of training camp as Gerard Warren's backup in the right defensive tackle spot.
With Broncos starters expected to go about 10 to 12 plays, Thomas could enter the game as soon as the first quarter if the team sticks to that rotation.
Thomas said he also has shaken the hesitation he showed at times during minicamps in June and July.
"I'm all good," Thomas said. "Way better than minicamps. When I first got here, I'm not going to lie, I was a little bit rusty, and I could see that when I watch myself on the film. Coaches helped me, and the older guys have really let me know what I need to do to get on the field and let me know when I'm doing things right and when I'm not doing things right.
"I know all of this is important to me. All of these games. I'm excited to show something to the team who believed in me."
Broncos at 49ers
• What: Preseason opener for both teams.
• When: 6 MDT tonight.
• Where: Bill Walsh Field at Monster Park (capacity 69,732), San Francisco.
• TV/radio: ESPN (simulcast on CBS 4); KOA-AM (850).
• Injuries: Broncos - G Ben Hamilton (concussion), T Matt Lepsis (groin) and WR Brandon Marshall (left thigh) will not play. 49ers - RB Frank Gore (broken bone in right hand) will not play.
Players to watch tonight
• Quarterback Jay Cutler: He likely will play one, two at the most, offensive series. He has treated a sore right wrist after most practices, but he has not missed a training camp snap.
• Running backs Mike Bell and Cecil Sapp: The two are in a big-time battle for the spot behind Travis Henry. This game and the practices with Dallas will be a big part of the evaluation.
• Receivers: Most personnel scouts in the league believe the Broncos have a No. 1 guy (Javon Walker) and a couple of No. 3s (Brandon Marshall and Brandon Stokley). The Broncos would like Marshall to be No. 2, but he won't play tonight because he just returned to practice after missing 11 days of training camp because of a left thigh injury.
• Special teams: Assistant Scott O'Brien has showed practice will be more fast-paced and detail-oriented under his watch. Now the players get to try to earn some roster spots by transferring that work into game situations.
• Defensive end Jarvis Moss: The rookie has been slowed some in recent days because of a sore left knee, and he has had trouble shaking Broncos tackles at times just using his speed rush and not working enough with some inside moves. Despite the knee, coach Mike Shanahan said Moss is expected to play at least some.
|08-13-2007, 04:34 AM||#3|
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Arcadia, CA
If Big Money is on the way out, Marcus is going to need to grow up (on the field, he's been fine off it) alot more quickly now, which may not be fair to him. As Khan has pointed out, it takes awhile for DTs to develop. He's going to be under more pressure.
|08-13-2007, 04:49 AM||#4|
Join Date: Oct 2004
|08-13-2007, 08:23 AM||#5|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Mar 2006
|08-13-2007, 09:31 AM||#6|
True Orange & Blue
Join Date: Jul 2006
Thomas better be the better, younger version of Warren this year. Doesn't this feel a little like the Keyshawn thing with the Panthers and Dwayne Jarrett?