Devin Thomas Demoted

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

The New York Giants have finally done what I’ve been hoping for since Week One of the NFL season. They finally demoted Devin Thomas from the starting kick returner role.

It’s a reality check,” Thomas said. “It checks your pride, but I’m going to bounce back.”

Thomas won a wide-open battle for the kick return spot in preseason, and he has averaged a solid 23.7 yards per return. But the fourth-year wideout has also struggled to consistently hold onto the ball. A few weeks ago, special teams coordinator Tom Quinn said Thomas needed to “start catching the ball cleaner,” but that has not happened.

Thomas has mishandled a kick return in two of the last three games. After he muffed a third-quarter kickoff catch against New England, he was briefly replaced by rookie Jerrel Jernigan.

“I can be a stud back there,” Thomas said. “But I’m a dud if I’m out there muffing returns.”

“It caught me off-guard, but I’m not going to complain,” he added. “I’m going to keep playing hard.” (The Blue Screen – NY Daily News)

With all due respect to Ebenezer Samuel of the NY Daily News, I have to call bullshit on him saying Thomas has had a “solid 23.7 yards per return”. There’s been nothing solid about his returns this year.

Yes, he’s averaging a pretty 23.7 yards per return but many of his returns only bring the ball out to about the 15-yard line. See with the new kickoff rules many kick returners are trusting their speed so much that they’re foregoing the touchbacks, thinking they’ll get to at least the 20 themselves. Thomas is one of them.

I can’t count how many times I’ve seen Thomas field a return about six or seven yards deep in the end zone and return it to around the 15. In past years a 23.7 yard average may have been respectable but with the new rules it’s NOT! What good is a 23.7 yard average if it’s not getting the ball to at least the 20?? He’d be smarter taking a knee and giving the Giants better starting position.

While his muffed returns may have cost him his job this week, his all season long decision making should have gotten him a demotion sooner. With him being replaced on special teams I’m not sure if he’ll have a job much longer as he’s an after thought in the Giants passing game.

Look for Da’Rel Scott and D.J. Ware to get a majority of the returns on Sunday, hopefully they’re aren’t many San Francisco 49ers scores.

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