Through the first nine games of the season, Broncos tight end Julius Thomas had 38 catches for 423 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Thomas hurt his ankle in the team’s 10th game, however, and added just five catches and 66 yards to those totals while sitting out three games before making a quiet return in the final three weeks of the regular season. Thomas called the experience a “frustrating” one and said that he hopes the bye before the Broncos open their playoff schedule helps him get back into form.
“I just try to do everything I can, continue to get better and try to get healthier,” Thomas said, via ESPN.com. “Some things feel great, some things I’m still trying to improve on. It kind of changes day-to-day, but I’m just going to keep working with it and keep doing all I can. That is definitely the goal. I’m hoping that in two weeks it’ll be a big change for me. So get over that hump and get back to looking like the guy I used to be. So I’m looking forward to it and definitely anticipate being in better health.”
Thomas’s injury and ensuing absence from the lineup coincided with the Broncos’ offensive turn toward a more run-heavy look with C.J. Anderson, as well as an uneven stretch of play for Peyton Manning. Having Thomas somewhere closer to full speed would provide a boost to the passing game for Denver, although it will be a while before we know if the extended rest has served as the right tonic for Thomas’s troubles, the story pointed out.