Chiefs Playmaker De'Anthony Thomas Looking Forward to New Challenge

Thomas is hoping to make more plays in 2015

Every time he touched the ball, Kansas City Chiefs fans would hold their breath.

As a rookie, De'Anthony Thomas showed the ability to raise the heart rate of fans just on the anticipation of him getting the ball in open space, which is where he would do most of his damage.

Thomas averaged 12.96 yards per touch last season and had both a punt return and a kick return of at least 75 yards each.

Throughout OTAs and minicamp this year, Thomas continued to show that elite change-of-direction speed, and if it's even possible, looked even faster than he did a year ago.

As the Chiefs try and figure out a way to get him even more involved in the offense, they have made the decision that in 2015, he'll spend more time working with the receivers rather than the running backs—the group with which he worked last season.

"Last year, he ended up being more of a receiver than running back," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said. "He was still doing stuff at the running back position, but the majority of his snaps were at receiver. So we said, 'You know what? Let's just put him there.'

"We have put the major emphasis on him getting to know those routes better as a receiver."

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Thomas will now work with receivers coach David Culley every day at practice, and he'll be surrounded by a couple of veterans in Jason Avant and Jeremy Maclin who can help show him the right way to do things.

"He and Jason Avant sit next to each other," Reid explained. "They talk all the time. Jason is one of the great route runners in this business, so he's has been a great help to him.

"And [Thomas] been working his tail off like a wild man."

Throughout OTAs and minicamp, Thomas has already started leaning on his fellow veteran receivers.

"They know everything about being a pro and just how to be successful and just stay healthy," Thomas said.

While Thomas will still most likely line up all over the place as coach Andy Reid and company find ways to utilize his skillset to their advantage, the time put in working on his release and his routes should serve Thomas well when working outside of the tackles.

"For being small, he's strong," Reid said. "You don't want to miss with him. He is one of those guys you put in that category if you're a defensive corner or safety and he's playing on the inside, you do not want to miss if you're playing press coverage on him.

"You're probably not going to catch him."

For Reid's offense, timing and precision is the name of the game.

Obviously that starts with quarterback Alex Smith, but in order for Smith to have that timing down, he must be on the same page with his receivers.

The number of steps in Smith's drops often coincides with the routes being run on the outside. It's a choreographed dance that requires proper timing and footwork, which is a skill Smith admires about the second-year playmaker.

Highlights from De'Anthony Thomas' 2014 season.

"I think the first thing is the speed and footwork," Smith said of Thomas' special abilities. "The guy's feet are remarkable. In and out of cuts, the speed he has, the burst, those are all things that I think that can help compensate because he maybe he is a little undersized, but guys are scared of his speed, so he does get cushions.

"Guys are afraid of not being able to get a hand on him and all of a sudden he's going to be gone."

Because of his speed and quickness, Thomas said he doesn't mind being pressed on the outside.

"If I'm being pressed up, inside or outside, I just have to have the best release to win."

Thomas will continue to work on his release up at training camp beginning on August 1, and fans can come and watch the speedy playmaker accept this new challenge and work towards a successful 2015 season.

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