Bowe vs. Thomas: Fans Square Off
The eternal struggle continues. "My team's guy is better than your team's guy."
Every one of us has been in this debate with a rival's fan, probably dozens (if not hundreds) of times. It's time for someone to settle them all once and for all (because that's what happens with debates, right?). My esteemed colleague Lucas Polglaze has agreed to enter Thunderdome with me as we fight for the guys wearing the color of laundry we favor. We argued about Champ Bailey and Brandon Flowers. We debated Von Miller vs. Justin Houston. Now it's time to turn our attention to the playmakers. No, I'm not talking about Jamaal Charles vs. Montee Ball. That would be insane (although very fun for Chiefs' fans to read, but oh well). Nope, it's the clash of fan favorites. Dwayne Bowe vs. Demaryius Thomas. Two PFS writers enter. One leaves alive. DT vs. Bowe Show. It's on.
Luc... C'mon. I mean... c'mon, man. We're really doing this? Bowe vs. Thomas? Six years of consistent production against a one-hit wonder? Sure, Demaryius Thomas is tall and had a great season last year. Of course, there was a time those same things could be said about lots of receivers. Bowe has been putting in work for over half a decade, with shockingly consistent production. He had one kinda/sorta rough patch with Todd Haley in 2009 (in his defense, Todd Haley is Todd Haley, so there's that), but other than that has been a guaranteed thousand yards and 6 TDs per season.
The only receiver in the league who can MAYBE claim to match Bowe's power after the catch is Brandon Marshall. He runs good routes. He can make the most incredible catches you've ever seen. He's shown up and shown out against the best corners in the game (look back to the 2011 closer if you need a reminder). When he's in the zone, it absolutely does not matter who is covering him. Year in and year out, he shows up and balls.
And he's done all this with Damon Huard, Brodie Croyle, Tyler Thigpen, Matt Cassel, Tyler Palko,Brady Quinn, and Brodie Croyle throwing him the ball. Come on... can I just drop the mic and walk off now?
If you want to drop the mic, you're going to miss out big time.
Bowe is a great player. But he can't compare to the potential of Demaryius Thomas.
DT...Bey Bey...OpThomas Prime...whatever you want to call him, the guy can ball. He is physical, a mismatch for corners. He has speed and a big frame. He can block and he can catch. Yeah, did I mention he can catch? Look at these hands:
I mean, come on. You call that a one hit wonder? That is a phenomenal play, just one of many that DT made last year.
He is a complete reciever, the kind of players that elite quarterbacks just dream about having. The difference is, for Peyton Manning, he is there.
Last year, a one-hit wonder? Come on. That was his first full season healthy (Josh McDaniels had him doing kickoff returns. Come on. That is not what you want to do with your stud receiver). Yes, Peyton Manning was throwing him passes, which helped him en route to a 94 catch, 1434 yard, 10 TD season. But he is still a great receiver.
Damon Huard? Brodie Croyle? Tyler Thigpen? Matt Cassel? Tyler Palko? Brady Quinn?
Two words: Tim Tebow.
Let's go back to 2011, when Tebow was throwing him balls. Most would agree that Tim Tebow is somewhat less than an NFL QB at this point. His throwing motion is bad and his passes just don't go so well.
In that year, DT wasn't healthy to start the year, didn't play until Week 6 and dealt with nagging injuries for a few weeks more.
However, the last 7 games of that year (with TEBOW throwing him the ball) were outstanding.
35 catches, 745 yards. More than 100 yards a game. Tell me that isn't impressive.
I'm glad you brought up Tebow. But we'll get to that in a moment.
Yes, that's a really pretty gif. I could throw one up of Tony Moeaki making an even better catch. Doesn't make him better than Tony Gonzalez. One spectacular catch doth not a great receiver make. Crap, Jonathan Baldwin has made amazing catches (against you guys, in fact. Here ya go. Memories, right?). So don't try the whole, "I'll show a flashy picture and distract everyone" tactic. That only works in politics.
Like I said, I'm glad you brought up Tebow. Wow, look at those amazing stats you posted. That's very, very impressive. But wait... when I look at Thomas's stats from that year on ESPN, he didn't only play in 7 games. He played 13 (11 in the regular season). Well, why wouldn't you bring up those other 6 games? Hmm... Uh, oh.
It's because in those 6 games, Thomas caught a combined 7 passes for 103 yards. In 6 games. Good Lord, that's awful. So I guess since you're going to cherry pick one half of the season, I'll cherry pick the other half to show he's AWFUL. Of course, I'm not going to do that. But to try and leave out the inconvenient fact that in 11 regular season games Thomas put up 32 catches for 551 yards is just misleading. He had a subpar year that got overshadowed by one massive playoff game.
Seriously, these are Thomas's regular season stats his first two years in the league.
2010- 22 catches, 283 yards, 2 TDs.
2011- 32 catches, 551 yards, 4 TDs.
Bowe's stats his first two years?
70 catches, 995 yards, 5 TDs
86 catches, 1,022 yards, 7 TDs.
It's not even kinda, sorta close. Bowe was MASSIVELY better than Thomas their first two respective years, and no amount of stat massaging ("hey, let's only look at DT's good games in 2011 so we can pretend he was awesome with Tebow") can change that. DT was an average WR statistically with one gigantic game before Manning walked into town. What's Thomas's excuse for 2010? That he had Kyle Orton throwing him the ball? I'd take Orton over literally ever QB Bowe has ever had, and Bowe still got it done.
Speaking of 2011, I notice that Thomas only had 11 regular season games, missing the rest due to injury. Oddly enough, he missed 6 games his rookie year as well. In fact, 2012 was the first year he's played a full year. He's missed more games due to injury in just 3 years than Bowe has in 6. The most important ability is availability, and Bowe is a rock when it comes to health. Thomas has had one healthy year.
Bowe- Gets it done all season regardless of who throws him the ball.
Thomas- Needs Manning to do better than average over the course of a season.
Bowe- Is consistently healthy
Thomas- Been healthy all year once in three years.
Bowe- Has been doubled constantly ever since Tony G left KC.
Thomas- had the benefit (in his one great year) of having a QB who doesn't let teams double effectively, as well as a better #2 receiver than Bowe has ever had.
Advantage team? Goes to Thomas. But as an individual receiver? I'll the the guy who doesn't need so much support to produce. How can you talk me into taking the more brittle, less consistent player?
Well I only show you that picture to demonstrate that Demaryius Thomas is capable of making great catches. I could have shown you this one:
With Demaryius, it isn't one great gif. It's multiple ones.
Yes, Thomas had injuries those years. Want to have a look at his injury history those years? Here: http://www.kffl.com/...emaryius-thomas
Year Week NFL Team Injury Status Injury 2010 1 Denver Broncos Questionable foot 2010 2 Denver Broncos Probable foot 2010 6 Denver Broncos Questionable concussion 2010 12 Denver Broncos Out ankle 2010 13 Denver Broncos Out ankle 2010 14 Denver Broncos Out ankle 2010 15 Denver Broncos Out ankle 2010 16 Denver Broncos Questionable ankle 2010 17 Denver Broncos Probable ankle 2011 1 Denver Broncos Out Achilles' 2011 2 Denver Broncos Out finger 2011 3 Denver Broncos Out finger 2011 4 Denver Broncos Out finger 2011 5 Denver Broncos Out finger 2011 7 Denver Broncos Probable finger
It's not pretty.
Yes, he struggled with injuries. But that's where your fallacy comes in. The fact is, without injuries, Demaryius is the better receiver by a mile. Last year, he had the third best season by a WR of the past five years, according to PFF; and the second best performance last year. And all this despite having a phenomenal group of WRs to draw targets around him. He had Eric Decker, Brandon Stokley, Jacob Tamme and Joel Dreessen all catching balls around him and yet he had a great season.
He's also one of the league leaders in defensive pass interferences drawn.
The problem with Dwayne Bowe is he has a bit of the dropsies. He dropped 11.56% of his balls just a few years back. That's one in every nine passes. Ouch.
Heh, funny you'd bring up drops, seeing as Thomas had 12 last year and Bowe only had 6. And before you start doing the math, no, Thomas wasn't targeted twice as much as Bowe. He just dropped passes at a higher rate than Bowe did (Bowe's drop rate was actually below 6% last year). This is why it's always a good idea to vet stats before citing them, Lucas!
Basically, your reasons for picking Thomas are drops (even though Thomas dropped passes more than Bowe last year) and the fact that "when healthy" he's a better receiver (a subjective opinion depending on an outside factor working out)? Well hey, when Darren McFadden is healthy he's a top 5 back. Doesn't mean I'd take him before about 15 other RBs in the NFL, though. Health matters.
And again, you're relying on a single year with Peyton Manning throwing him the football to prove that Thomas is "elite." This is the same quarterback who made people think Austin Collie would have a great pro career. When Thomas has had normal (or terrible) quarterbacks throwing him the ball, he's been mediocre to average. When Bowe has had terrible quarterbacks throwing him the ball, he's put up thousand yard seasons.
It's not close. Thomas needs an elite QB and no pressure to be elite. Bowe caught 16 touchdowns as the only viable receiving threat with Matt Cassel throwing him the ball. In a single year Bowe dwarfed Thomas's entire career prior to Manning.
Thomas is a very good receiver. But the comparison to Megatron (who, like Bowe and unlike Thomas, has put up good numbers with inferior QBs) is just silly. Guys like Megatron, Bowe, Fitz, AJ... they've all gotten it done regardless of the surrounding circumstances. Thomas has never, ever, ever, ever had a good season with anyone but an all-time great throwing him the ball. It's Bowe. It's always been Bowe.
I'll let you get the last word (at least before I slip an argument into my closing, because I'll cheat to win). One more time... why am I taking the more injury-prone player who couldn't crack 600 yards in a season before Peyton Manning saved him?
Did I ever say DT didn't suffer from drops? Bowe just has a much worse problem with it.
When Thomas has had normal (or terrible) quarterbacks throwing him the ball, he's been mediocre to average.
Here's where I disagree. When Thomas has been healthy and had normal (or terrible) quarterbacks throwing him the ball, he's been great.
Thomas doesn't need elite to be elite. He's there when he's healthy. And he's there even when he's got an elite corps of WRs around him sucking the plays away. When you're Bowe, you're the only target there is. Who else is Cassel going to throw to? Bowe is Cassel's bodyguard, his safety blanket and his teddy bear. Megatron is the best receiver no doubt, but he has nobody around him. He is the best - but his numbers wouldn't look nearly as good with an Eric Decker or Brandon Stokley across from him. They'll suck away some of those passes he'll get.
Why take DT? Because he is a kid who fights and always gives his all. His grandmother and mother trafficked cocaine. Both are in prison right now. He barely made it into the first round after breaking a bone in his foot. He has dealt with incredible adversity. And yet this is a guy who's 6'3", 222 and runs a 4.38 40. He can block (he was part of a triple option offense at Georgia Tech). He can catch (see above). He's a complete package. He's humble.
Plus, he says only winners get wings.
Who's holding the plate of wings? I rest my case.
The wings do make a compelling argument. However, this
Did I ever say DT didn't suffer from drops? Bowe just has a much worse problem with it.
Is just not true. Thomas had his best year last year, and he dropped passes at a higher rate than Bowe did. Bowe had a 5.6% drop rate last year. Thomas had an 8.3% drop rate. So... uh... whatcha talking about, Willis? Because it sure looks to me like Thomas had the bigger number in his absolute best year. So that's just crazy talk.
So you're saying when Thomas has been healthy and had normal QBs throwing the ball, he's been great. So then... was he injured literally his entire rookie year? Because he was a giant ball of "meh." And he must've been injured for the vast majority of 2011, too. So I'm supposed to want the guy who's been hurt for over half his career?
I must admit, it's not a rare argument to hear that somehow Bowe being surrounded by garbage helped him. But let's examine that. Did Bowe REALLY get more chances than Thomas? Thomas had 8.53 "targets" per game last year. Bowe had 8.23. Again, the stats don't back up your assertion. Thomas got just as many targets as Bowe, and HIS targets came without defenses focusing all their efforts on him and an all-universe QB targeting him. Bowe's situation was much, much tougher to produce in. But he still produced.
You make a great argument for Thomas. He's got the goods, for sure. He's a very good WR. But nothing you've said has shown me that Thomas can get it done consistently (outside of one freak playoff game. Even Tebow had one great playoff game. Coincidentally, the same one) without Manning and company backing him up.
I'm taking the guy who produces all day, every day, no excuses.
Thanks so much for your time and arguments Lucas. As always, you are the man and I hope to one day talk you into cheering for the good guys. I look forward to our next clash.
- saraw likes this