Posted Tue Oct 18th by Jon Heath
With receiver Brandon Lloyd now reunited with Josh McDaniels in St. Louis, the Denver Broncos need to fill a void at receiver.
“I feel like since they traded Lloyd, they’re going to need somebody to step up, and I feel like I can be that guy,” said second year receiver Demaryius Thomas on Monday. The Broncos agree with Thomas.
There are several young receivers that have impressed the coaching staff in Denver, which made it easier for the team to deal Lloyd.
“It’s an opportunity for some other guys,” said head coach John Fox. “We feel strong about our receiving corps moving forward.”
Thomas is expected to play on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, which would be the first time he’s been on the field for nearly a year, due to multiple injuries. When healthy, Thomas has provided an athletic deep threat for the Broncos.
With the ability to match up against some of the best in the business, Thomas is a 6-3, 235 pound receiver who caught eight passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in his rookie debut last season. Joining Thomas as one of the main receivers for Denver is fellow second year player Eric Decker, who has had a great start in 2011.
“Our young receivers have really emerged and made some plays, and this is a great opportunity for them to continue to step up,” Broncos’ Executive John Elway said following the announcement of trading Lloyd.
None of the Broncos receivers have emerged quite like Decker, who has caught 22 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns through five games. Explosive fourth year player Eddie Royal has had a quiet start to the season (partly due to injury), but still provides another reliable option in the passing game.
The fourth and fifth receivers on Denver’s depth chart are Matt Willis and return specialist Quan Cosby. Most of Denver’s receivers have had their high moments with starting quarterback Tim Tebow. Over the past two preseasons, Willis has appeared to be Tebow’s favorite target, while Decker caught Tebow’s first ever (preseason) touchdown pass last year.
During their rookie seasons, Tebow and Thomas connected nicely during training camp, while Cosby has yet to play with Tebow. Tebow has only connected with Royal twice, when Tebow started the final three games of the 2010 season.
Another option for the Broncos is Eron Riley, who is currently on the practice squad. Riley is coming off an impressive preseason a year after playing under Fox in Carolina.
If Tebow — and the Broncos’ entire offense — are going to succeed, they’ll need some of the team’s young receivers to step up. Denver’s coaching staff is confident that they will. Are you?