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Ravens Must Be Conscious Of Playmaking WR Demaryius Thomas

Posted Dec 15, 2012

Big-bodied, fast wide receiver Demaryius Thomas is sixth in the NFL in receiving yards.


Ed Reed remembers the play well – even though he wasn’t there.

It was during last year’s playoffs when the Broncos and Steelers went to overtime. On the very first play, Thomas streaked across the middle, caught a pass from Tim Tebow and galloped 80 yards for a game-winning touchdown.

“He just cruised past everybody – stiffed-armed, running over them,” Reed said.

That play was the start of something bigger for Thomas.

After two slow years to start his career, the 2010 first-round pick has blossomed into one of the league’s most productive receivers with the help of quarterback Peyton Manning this season.

Thomas is sixth in the NFL in receiving yards (1,197) and tied for seventh in touchdowns (8). He has the second-most plays of 20 yards or more in the league with 23, only trailing Detroit’s Calvin Johnson.

The Georgia Tech product has a rare combination of size and speed. He’s 6-foot-3, 229 pounds and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds at the NFL Combine.

“Demaryius is a playmaker,” Reed said. “He’s a big body. It’s like a tight end but with receiver speed. You have to be real conscious of what he’s doing.”

Some top-flight wide receivers have had big performances against the Ravens this season.

Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson had eight catches for 114 yards. New England’s Wes Welker had eight for 142 and Brandon Lloyd notched nine for 108. Dallas’ Dez Bryant hauled in 13 passes for 95 yards and two touchdowns and Houston’s Andre Johnson had nine grabs for 86 yards.

Last week, Washington’s Pierre Garcon posted five catches for 87 yards and a score.

Even if the Ravens do succeed in slowing Thomas, they also have Eric Decker to contend with. The third-year wideout has 790 receiving yards and eight touchdowns this season, the same number as Thomas.

“He’s pretty good too,” cornerback Corey Graham said. “They complement each other. Having Peyton obviously doesn’t hurt, but they both make a lot of plays.”

Baltimore could have some reinforcements on the way at cornerback. Jimmy Smith, who would be a good size and speed matchup against Thomas, is questionable to play after sitting out the past five weeks due to a sports hernia.


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