Mike Thomas’s Public Relations VP wrote and wondered if I would be interested in submitting some questions for Mike. Dana explained Mike is reaching to Jaguar fans to let them get to know him and make a connection. In fact, visit his facebook page and say hi. Better yet, send him a Tweet ! He will love that!
So we exchanged emails and Mike responded to some questions that we will review and comment on here. But first, let’s take a look back on the season and see what earned Mike his credibility among the fans and, most important, General Manager Gene Smith. Hop in with Sherman and Mr. Peabody into the “WayBack” machine as we visit the Meadowland on November 15, 2009.
The Jaguars are playing the NY Jets. It is the Jaguars second possession of the second quarter, they are up 14-10. The Jaguars are on their own 15 yard line. It is 3rd and 9. David in the shotgun, hits Mike Thomas over the middle for 20 yards.
That same drive with 4 minutes, fifteen seconds left in the second quarter, the Jaguars are on the Jets 34 yard line, 4th and 4 to go. Jack goes for it, they didn’t come to lose. David in the shotgun hits Mike Thomas on the left for a seven yard gain. Two plays later, David hit Mike Simms-Walker for a 26 yard touchdown.
It is late in the fourth quarter with the Jets up 22-21, the Jaguars are in the final drive on their own 38 yard line. There are 3 minutes 14 seconds to go, it is 3rd and 9. David in the shotgun hits Mike Thomas over the middle short and Mike gets 15 yards for a first down. Four plays later, Maurice Jones Drew is taking a knee and Scobee kicks the winning field goal.
In the Jets game, Mike pulled in 4 passes for 46 yards. The three I highlighted were game critical catches. A player can have padded stats, but coaches and GM’s notice game critical catches more.
B&T What was the highlight moment to you in 2009? What do you remember about any particular performance that brings a smile?
Mike Thomas: Our game against the New York Jets, making some big catches when the game was on the line and my touchdown against the Colts.
You know, Mike is right, the Colts game was another critical catch. Indy was up 28-24 when David hit Mike Thomas over the middle for a touchdown with :53 left in the third quarter. Another critical catch.
Has Mike Thomas established himself as a “go to” guy? The final Jaguar play of the Colts game was a deep right pass to Mike Thomas intercepted by Indianapolis. With the game on the line, David learned to look for Mike Thomas.
B&T : Is there one play involving you that you hope Dirk calls? What play showcases your talents the best?
Mike Thomas: Anytime I get the ball in my hands, it’s great. I am confident in myself I am going to do something with it.
Mike didn’t have gaudy statistics as a rookie receiver, but he firmly established himself as a strong candidate for a 2010 starter on the team and have the opportunity to put up some big numbers. I think he can!
B&T What do you want to improve on the most this year?
Mike Thomas: Becoming an all around receiver as opposed to being labeled as purely a slot guy.
Mike wants to be a big part of the offense in 2010. With the departure of Torry Holt, the receiving positions are wide open.
B&T: I have to ask about Torry Holt. You got to spend time with a future ‘Hall of Fame” receiver and he spent time with you. Was there anything you got from him you will keep your whole playing career?
Mike Thomas: One of most important things he told me is to take of your body. That’s so important in a business where your body is your moneymaker. You need to take care of yourself in order to play and be successful.
I think the Jaguars have a player on their hands here and I think Gene and Jack know it. With Mike Simms-Walker in the number one position, Mike Thomas and Jarret Dillard on the field, David has potential play-makers on the team.
B&T: I noticed in the mini-camp your cuts and routes looked very clean, maybe better than last year. What kind of off-season conditioning did you engage in?
Mike Thomas: Just a lot of passing routes, a lot of running stadiums, and team conditioning.
B&T: A Quarterback only has a few quick moments to scan the field for the open man. How are you and David working on getting on the same page and catching the coverage off guard?
Mike Thomas: Doing a lot of hard work while we’re at practice as well as staying after and getting a little extra work in.
Let’s look at the potential of this team. Say the offensive line improves and they do decent pass and run blocking. Say the play action pass is working as the opponent defense over plays against MJD. Say MSW and Marcedes Lewis go out deep. Doesn’t that leave a guy like Mike Thomas open over the middle?
Is it my imagination, or can we actually put up a real good offensive battle this year?
I want to thank Mike Thomas for spending time with us. I want to congratulate him on a good rookie season. I want to wish him the best in the coming year. I think we are going to have a good time in the stadium this year. Get your tickets before they sell out.
– Terry O’Brien