His problem wasn’t really his on-field progression; it was his body’s inability to adjust to the rigors of a 16-week NFL schedule.
But with his rookie year completed and a whole offseason to prepare–last season, players couldn’t work at the team’s facility because of the lockout–Thomas is excited to get to work.
“The main thing is just take care of your body,” Thomas said. “Last year, a lot of my injuries were because I wasn’t taking care of my body, not eating properly. So I learned a lot.”
Last week, the Dolphins held a voluntary veteran mini-camp, the first on-field action of the season. Though there’s been limited interaction at this point, Thomas senses that there is a good rapport between the new staff and the players.
“We’ve got a great relationship with them already,” Thomas said. “You can tell they’re all good coaches. They’ve got a good plan for us. You can tell there’s a sense of excitement in the building right now.”
Even with a year of pro experience, Thomas said his teammates still joke that he’s a rookie. In many ways, his experience could be similar this year, because he will have another series of firsts with the new coaching staff.
“We’re installing a new system. We’ve got a whole new coaching staff,” Thomas said. “The one thing we’re doing right now is just practicing tempo. We’re trying not to huddle.”
The installation of Joe Philbin and Mike Sherman’s West Coast offense not only will speed up up the pace for the Dolphins offense, but it also should change the running backs’ role. Thomas expects to line up split out at receiver at times, and he wants prove that he’s confident catching the football.
“I did that a lot in college,” Thomas said. “I just want to show the coaches that I’m a big back, but I can catch the ball, as well.”
With a few offseason addition in the backfield, including former Miami Hurricane Lamar Miller, there should be plenty of healthy competition for playing time. These transactions aren’t necessarily a critique, but it could cause some mixed emotions. On one hand, you want to welcome your new teammate with open arms, but it also forces you to be on your toes at the same time.
“A little bit of both,” Thomas said. “You have a little bit of a chip on your shoulder because we have a lot of running backs. But, at the same time, you’ve just got to keep working. That’s all you can do. You can’t worry about who they bring in.”
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