Julius Thomas is beginning to live up to expectations


Julius Thomas was the big free agent splash expected to jump start the Jacksonville Jaguars defense in 2015.

Coming over to the Jacksonville Jaguars from the Denver Broncos, Julius Thomas was expected to help jump start the passing offense under young quarterback Blake Bortles.

Thomas came into the season limping, however, and it fell to stud wide receivers Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson to pick up the slack. They’ve done a magnificent job to this point and Thomas has become less of a weapon for the Jaguars than expected.

Yet, through just eight games, Thomas already has 31 catches for 298 yards, and four touchdowns. His lone 100 yard game came in Week 12 against the San Diego Chargers.

The Jags have made a point of getting Thomas involved. He has been credited with 56 targets on the season (just six less than 2014 with the Broncos), which is third on the team behind Hurns and Robinson.

When the Jags picked up Thomas it was expected he would have significant drop-off from the league’s best offense to one of the younger, growing teams. Expecting four touchdowns was reasonable after the 2014 Jags had just 15 passing touchdowns the year before.

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With four more games left in the season, Julius Thomas could improve on his current touchdown totals. His four touchdowns with the Jaguars account for almost 15 percent of touchdown passes on the team, compared to 30 percent in 2014 and almost 22 percent of passing touchdowns in 2013 on the Denver Broncos.

12.9 percent of his receptions are going for touchdowns with the Jaguars compared to almost 28 percent in 2014 and 18.5 percent in 2013 with the Broncos.

All in all, his moderate decreases as a receiver and scoring threat for the Jaguars was expected. We aren’t seeing a drastic decrease in production, but a moderate return based on a change in team and a difference in the caliber and experience of those around him.

More importantly, if the Jaguars could find ways to run appropriate plays in the red zone and come away with touchdowns, Julius Thomas could see his numbers go up. Greg Olson has sought to get him involved to little avail thus far, but his presence as a red zone target should be yielding better results.

Next: Can Blake Bortles improve in the red zone?

Despite the desire for more from Thomas, at this point I think we can look upon his first eight games with the Jags as nearly meeting expectations.

What do you think?