I decided to take a look at the third preseason game with fresh eyes, so to speak and I didn't feel as bad about the performance of the Jacksonville Jaguars as they faced the Buffalo Bills. When you take the immediate emotion out of the mix when watching a game, you tend to notice subtle things, like most of Ryan Fitzpatrick's throws came off of quick three step drops (which means that the Bills were wary of the Jaguars' pass rush from the previous game) and that the offensive line had a better game than the previous ones (Which means that they are starting to gel). However, the biggest revelation that I discovered from watching the game again is that we are in a better shape at WR than we think. Mike Thomas, who is set to be the #1 receiver going into the season has shown the skills needed for a premier receiver.
I. Sure hands
After uncharacteristically dropping a pass in the first preseason game against the Patriots, Mike Thomas bounced back with two strong performances inhis next two games. He caught pretty much anything that came his way during the Atlanta and Buffalo games. During the Buffalo game, Thomas quietly caught 5 catches for 40 yards in a game highlighted by dropped passes and other missed opportunities.
Thomas ran a 4.30 in the 40-yard dash, which allows him to burn defenders and get open. During this preseason, Thomas has run by his assigned defender multiple times to get open deep, only to have the QB overthrow the pass. His shiftiness works well when he lines up as a slot receiver as well. On one occasion, during the Falcons game, he pulled a move on the nickelback that caused the defender to fall to the ground, leaving Thomas open in the middle of the field with room to run.
Whenever there is a catch that must be made, David Garrard usually goes for Mike Thomas. Of his team-leading 66 catches in 2010, 38 of them went for first downs. That speaks wonders about how highly he is valued by David Garrard when the chips are down. Rookie QB Blaine Gabbert seems to hold him in pretty high regard as well, aiming for Thomas on a key third down in the New England game (Unfortunately, Thomas dropped the pass). What does that mean? If your fantasy football draft is coming up soon, you might want to consider taking Mike T in the middle rounds.
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