Joe Thomas - 2015 Packers Player Report Card

Joe Thomas

  • Age: 24
  • Ht./Wt: 6'1", 227lbs
  • College: South Carolina St.
  • NFL Experience: 1 year

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Expectations coming into the season:  Thomas didn't make the Packers out of training camp, but returned once the Packers snatched him off the Cowboys practice squad early in the season. The Packers brought Thomas back to provide extra coverage in their dime package. Bringing back a familiar player from another team's practice squad is a very Ted Thompson thing to do. When you're an inside linebacker who only weights 227 pounds, you better stand out in coverage because odds are, you're not going to see the field much in running situations. 

Player’s highlights/low-lights: Thomas never did nab an interception of his own, but he did deflect a pass that Ha Ha Clinton-Dix picked off against the Rams. Thomas also recorded his first career sack against Alex Smith and the Chiefs and proved to be a decent blizter. Unfortunately, Thomas didn't turn out to be the reliable dime coverage linebacker he was brought in to be. Speed and quickness wasn't an issue. Reaction time was. 

Level of Expectations met:  At this point, do Packers fans expect anything from the inside linebacker position? It's been season after season of complaining about the gaping hole inside, and seeing players like Thomas cycle through and contribute here and there, but make minimal impact overall.  

Grade: C-

Player’s contributions to team success:  Thomas was feisty on the blitz, which was something I don't think teams expected from a guy who weighs at least 20 pounds less than the Packers starting running back. However, when it came to standing out in pass coverage in space, which is difficult for any linebacker, let alone a guy off another team's practice squad, Thomas missed more often than he hit. Overall, Thomas was just another guy passing through the Packers' rotation of mediocrity at inside linebacker. 

Grade: D+

Player’s contributions in the playoffs:  Thomas was decent against both Washington and Arizona. Nothing spectacular or game-changing, but solid.

Grade: C

Intangibles/misc: You rarely saw Thomas line up incorrectly or completely blow an assignment in Dom Capers' notoriously complex defensive scheme. That's important for a middle linebacker on a defense that relies heavily on blitzing and several moving parts.

Grade: B

 

Overall Grade:  D+

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Comments (25)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
RCPackerFan's picture

February 01, 2016 at 12:12 pm

I really like Thomas. I like his ability as a Nickel/Dime ILB. Might not be saying much but I think he is probably one of the best coverage LB's we have had for a while.

I think he is a player on the rise. Especially as he gains more experience.

I disagree with the overall grade. While he may not be a top player on the defense I thought he really played well after getting resigned. IMO, with what was expected of him, and what he did, he should be in the B range for overall grade.

BTW, how does the grading system work? He gets a C-, D+, C and B. And yet get s a D+ overall grade? By the grades here, shouldn't he have had at least a C to C+ grade? Not a D+...

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jeremyjjbrown's picture

February 01, 2016 at 09:56 pm

Thomas meant a lot less of Palmer in coverage so that is fine by me.

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RCPackerFan's picture

February 02, 2016 at 07:53 am

no doubt.

Also think back to the days of Brad Jones. About every time Jones was in coverage he either drew a flag or gave up a big play.
Thomas was a big upgrade of Jones.

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Evan's picture

February 01, 2016 at 01:41 pm

NM

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Bearmeat's picture

February 02, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Thomas is an undersized coverage LB with a steep learning curve and little to no instincts. Its not his fault he's not in the top 50 NFL players at his position in the NFL. Very few are.

Remember the parade of Walden/Zombo/Mulumba's etc... from 2009-2013 until TT finally brought in a proven vet? And the FS position from 2012-2013 post Collins and pre HHCD? And the 5 Tech DT opposite Daniels from 2011-2015? And the TE position in 14-15 post Finhead? And the RB position from 2007-2012?

The word "cluster#&(k" would be an apt one.

These are ALL symptoms of TT not budging ONE IOTA from his team building philosophy. UDFA's and low round draft picks are all just fliers. Some (Driver/Shields/Tramon etc) pan out. The vast majority do not. And depending on them to play vital roles on your top 30 guys every year (and yes Dime is almost a starting package in Dom's D), is, frankly, stupid.

I'm not saying TT needs to go out and buy the Albert Haynesworths' and Suh's of the league. That is also stupid. But there is nothing wrong with a safe, reliable, not flashy but can get the job done pickup in late March-early June! It's called hedging your bet on the young guys living up to expectations.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Both TT and MM have the talent to go down as one of the best in their fields ever. Neither has the humility to allow their talent to come to the fore consistently enough to realize this potential.

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ray nichkee's picture

February 01, 2016 at 02:29 pm

I'm not sure which derogatory term to use since most are not politically correct. You got your pick here cow, what will it be?

I have bearmeats back on this one. He is here and is a true packer fan. You are here to troll. There is your difference. Now go speak to your neighbors and the employees at the stores you shop like you do here. Cow is short for coward. It's way to easy to be an ass on the internet when you can remain faceless. Get real or get the f*ck out.

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jmac34's picture

February 01, 2016 at 06:49 pm

Bearmeat has said positive things about the Packers before. I can't remember you ever doing that. It's hard to take someone who consistently positive seriously. It's just as hard to take someone who is consistently negative seriously.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 01, 2016 at 08:02 pm

Cow,

The difference between you and I is that you are an Eeyore and I am a realist. When (not if) I am proven wrong or someone else's logic is more solid, I will admit my mistake. You, sir, do not.

I also do not take the worst possible connotation for the Packers entire roster and management structure every single dang day of the year. You, sir, do this. That is what makes me a fan and you a sad, sad person.

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croatpackfan's picture

February 02, 2016 at 08:29 am

I disagree with you on the subject you mention in your original post here, but I would never ever think that you are not die hard Packers fan. That person (person?) does not deserve your time and throughts. We can disagree, but I respect you, bearmeat!

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Nick Perry's picture

February 02, 2016 at 05:55 am

Beatmeat is 110% correct, TT who continues to ignore FA and/or trades as a solution to fill a need is 110% responsible for the team the Packers field. Personally I find it amazing the Packers coaching staff gets as much as they do out of all the UDFA which is what Thompsons uses to fix EVERYTHING other than the draft.

What has held this team up are Thompsons HORRIBLE drafts of 2011 and 2012. Those are the Players who'd be in their primes but instead we have only Cobb left after 2011's draft and Daniels under contract from 2012's draft. 18 draft picks and a 2nd and 4th rounder is what TT might have to show for it. Pretty damn tough to draft and develop when you Bomb complete draft classes. Thompson SHOULD have signed a TE in TC and a ILB like Mason Foster the moment Barrington went down.

I for one can't wait for TT to retire. Jon Schneider can get out of his contract if given a position of complete control over personal. Schnieder doesn't go nuts with Free Agents signings but he doesn't ignore them either.

One last note because no one has mentioned it. What are the Packers going to do about a WR coach and the top heavy offensive coaching structure? I understand there's time but what's the sense in waiting?

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Evan's picture

February 02, 2016 at 08:16 am

"I for one can't wait for TT to retire. Jon Schneider can get out of his contract if given a position of complete control over personal. Schnieder doesn't go nuts with Free Agents signings but he doesn't ignore them either."

I don't know...two thoughts on Schneider.

1. The Harvin trade was a disaster. The Graham trade seems to be heading that way too. That's two 1st round picks he just threw away. And the o-line has been ignored for years. Bennett was a great signing. Avril was good too. But most of their success has been through the draft.

2. Carroll has final say in Seattle, so it's hard to say how much responsibility Schneider really bears in any of those moves, good and bad.

Between Eliot Wolf and Schneider, I'm really torn.

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RCPackerFan's picture

February 02, 2016 at 09:49 am

You bring up a lot of great points.

Also how will Schneider do with the players he has to pay? Now that he has a QB who isn't on a rookie contract. That makes a huge difference.

Myself, right now I'm leaning towards Wolf more then Schneider. But I wouldn't be opposed to him at all.

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Nick Perry's picture

February 03, 2016 at 05:09 am

Both RC and Evan bring up great points and I was going to metion Wolf too. My only concern is he's so young but if it's not the Packers who sign keep him it will be another team, maybe by next year. I guess I'd be happy with either and wouldn't be upset a bit if it was Eliot Wolf.

Schneider made the trades but Carroll had the final say, so was it Schneider or Carrol who made the trades for Harvin and Graham at the end of the day? Seattle's OL was a mess at the beginning of the season but came together pretty well by the end of the year. Tom Cable is the OL coach and with the exception of Bill Callahan might be one of the best in the NFL at his job.

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Evan's picture

February 03, 2016 at 07:04 am

"Schneider made the trades but Carroll had the final say, so was it Schneider or Carrol who made the trades for Harvin and Graham at the end of the day? "

That's what I'm saying...it's hard to say.

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Nick Perry's picture

February 03, 2016 at 05:25 am

All good points. I responded to both your and RC's coment below and share your thoughts on Wolf. Ted has done pretty well the last 3 drafts IMO, his last 2 first rond picks were excellent and maybe the light goes on for Datone Jones this year. Adams could still develop into the next James Jones for the next few years as a solid #4 WR because I think Montgomery leaves him in the dust in 2016.

The Packers won SB 45 partly because NOBODY could match up against the 4 WR the Packers could put on the field. Driver, Jennings, Jones, and Nelson, that's a lethel foursome and the Packers 3rd and 4th WR were better than teams 3rd and 4th CB.
Assuming Nelson is close to 2014 version and I believe he will be, the Packers can throw 5 WR's at you that could be really difficult to stop. Nelson, Cobb, and Montgomery with Abby, Adams, and Janis to pick from in 4 or 5 WR sets... Could be pretty awesome, especially with a TE. HELLO Ted, a TE please!

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Tundraboy's picture

February 04, 2016 at 06:33 pm

Yes, I too am sick of rolling the dice and hoping the draft pans out ,or a UDFA surprises. I have said in recent discussions that this year expecially they need to hedge their bets and go for some solid FA's to supplement the draft and develop. Just can not afford any more 2 to 3 year development projects when Rodgers, Nelson, Matthews are only getting older. And we still don't have an impact ILB or a TE. We are so close, no sense waiting, hoping and worse depending on someone stepping up.

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Since '61's picture

February 01, 2016 at 03:56 pm

Chuck him! Let's find somebody who can actually play ILB instead of this endless merry-go-round of mediocrity. Enough is enough. Thanks, Since '61

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Tundraboy's picture

February 04, 2016 at 06:36 pm

And TE as well, another cycle of mediocrity.

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The TKstinator's picture

April 10, 2016 at 03:17 pm

I also wish GB's starting lineup featured 22 all-pros.
Oh! And a kicker and punter.
So make that 24.
AND quality depth all over the place.

Not asking for too much, am I?

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 02, 2016 at 01:59 am

I would not chuck Thomas until there is someone better in place. Since he was a rookie, I think it is too early to assume that he won't get better, especially if reaction time was the primary problem. He missed some tackles and sack opportunities, as well.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 02, 2016 at 07:45 am

I think this was his 2nd year right? He made a practice squad for a bit last year I thought.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

February 03, 2016 at 12:17 am

Thanks, Bearmeat, you are correct. Thomas was signed on May 12, 2014, placed on IR in August, then released, and then was re-signed to the PS for the last 8 games of the 2014 season.

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Bearmeat's picture

February 02, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Wow. Did one of the admins finally make CHTV a bovine free zone?

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holmesmd's picture

April 10, 2016 at 01:22 pm

I like Thomas. he's a young player and will only get better. We don't have any other options at the moment so it would not be wise to dump the guy. Let's see how things go in the draft and training camp. I expect him to take a step up. His reaction time will continue to improve but you can't teach speed and quickness!

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DrealynWilliams's picture

April 10, 2016 at 04:16 pm

*blank face*

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