Count Cleveland Browns six-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle
“I like the ability to attack downfield,” Thomas told “Cleveland Browns Daily, Driven By Liberty Ford.” “For the quarterback to be able to throw downfield, a long ball over the heads of the defensive backs is a big advantage for us. It really takes the pressure off the running game a lot. It makes the defense softer. I think it opens up all the underneath throws, and it gives you an explosive, big-play capability that can turn a close game into a blowout in your favor.”
Thomas and the Browns’ offense have conducted their work during the organized team activities period of the offseason against a new-look defense. Under defensive coordinator Ray Horton, the Browns have switched to a 3-4, multiple-front defense from the 4-3 the team utilized over the past two seasons.
“This is a big switch for them and it seems like they’re doing a great job,” Thomas said. “It’s an attacking defense. They’ve got a lot of blitzes, a lot of pressures, and it seems like those guys love it. They’re running around; they’re flying around, and I think they’re going to be a fantastic defense this year.”
Over the last eight weeks, the Browns have conducted their offseason program, and completed the 10 OTA practices allowed under the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association.
After going through the practices, watching the film and improving on the corrections with on-field work, Thomas feels the offseason drills have come along “really well.”
“I think these OTAs have really helped us,” Thomas said. “We’ve got a few young guys on offense. Everybody’s learning a new offense and it seems like this last week, everybody took a big step forward. I feel like we did a great job against the defense.
“(The offensive line is) doing a nice job. We’ve got a lot of the same faces in there that we did the year before. Everybody’s a year older, a year smarter, a year wiser, and it seems the offense is going to be an easy transition for the guys up front.”
In addition to Turner’s offense and the tempo and competition during the offseason program, Thomas is excited to work with Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski, who served as the team’s offensive coordinator during his first two years with the team in 2007 and 2008.
“I had a lot of respect for him when he was here the first couple years, and I thought he would be a great head coach when he left,” Thomas said. “It just so happened that he came back here in my seventh year to be our head coach, and I’m really excited about it. I think he’s going to be a fantastic head coach for the Cleveland Browns.”
Following next week’s mandatory minicamp, the Browns’ veterans will be off until they report for training camp at the end of July. For Thomas, the break in the offseason is all about readying his body for the grind of a 16-game regular season.
“It’s going to be important for me to go home, get a little bit of rest and rejuvenate my mind because it’s a long season,” Thomas said. “I think when you get toward the latter part of your career, the most important thing you’re going to do in the offseason is just rejuvenate your mind and find a way that when you come back, it’s fresh and it’s new and it’s fun and it’s exciting.”