This year the Jaguars went through one of the most serious overhauls in recent NFL memory. Last year they were able to produce some serious fireworks on offense and, from what they did this offseason, they are looking to make a similar impact on the other side of the ball. Unfortunately, they have a lot of work to do as they finished last year with the 29th ranked defense according to NFL.com. Lost in all the shuffle seems to be their big free agent pickup from a year ago in tight end Julius Thomas.
Last offseason Julius Thomas was one of the premier red-zone threats in the NFL. He had just finished two straight years of having twelve touchdowns and averaging over ten yards per reception. He looked to be one of the ascending talents in the NFL and was the Jags prized Jewel of the offseason.
Then, the 2015 season came and Julius Thomas spent the year less than 100% and trying to develop chemistry with second-year quarterback Blake Bortles. It resulted in him only scoring five times, a far cry from what he was used to, and posting less than ten yards per reception for the first time as well. Still, there is
Then, the 2015 season came and Julius Thomas spent the year less than 100% and trying to develop chemistry with second-year quarterback Blake Bortles. It resulted in him only scoring five times, a far cry from what he was used to, and posting less than ten yards per reception for the first time as well. Still, there is reason for optimism that Thomas can return to the form that he experienced in Denver.
For one, Thomas has yet to hit his 30th birthday and has really only played three of his five years in the league. This makes regression due to age very unlikely. The second and most important thing he has in his corner is a quarterback that just threw for 35 touchdowns and over 4,400 yards. Typically, third seasons are a coming out party for quarterbacks and that is exactly the year that Bortles is headed into.
Finally, the Jags have the good fortune of playing in the AFC South, which means that, with some luck, if they can get off to a good start this team might have the momentum to play strong down the stretch and propel themselves to a playoff level team. This kind of momentum would be a huge boost to the whole team and the Jags playing competitive football in November and December for the first time in a long time. Julius Thomas will be a big key to Bortles taking the next step in his career.
I believe we will see a healthy and motivated Julius Thomas for the first time since his Denver days. If that ends up being the case then Thomas will be making many appearances on highlight reels, just like he did two seasons ago. Keep him on your radar, and do not be surprised when he returns to form and is one of the top tight ends in the league.