FOXBORO – Demaryius Thomas and Tom Brady seem to have become fast friends, at least judging by the amount of time they were seen on the sidelines last week talking and laughing during the team's preseason game with the Panthers.
To hear Thomas talk on Sunday, you can appreciate why Brady might be a fan.
Speaking for the first time since joining the Patriots as a free agent in April, Thomas stressed again and again that Job No. 1 is being someone Brady can trust.
"Being dependable and consistent," said Thomas when asked what he needed to provide the quarterback. "Those two things are the biggest things you can do for a quarterback. Being consistent and dependable."
Which is precisely what Brady is looking for as a revamped fleet of receivers and tight ends keep trying to get up to speed with the Patriots before the opener September 8.
Thomas, who's coming back from an Achilles tear suffered at the end of 2018, sounded very confident in his ability to play at the same level he always has.
"I still can go," said Thomas, who took part in his first full practice last Tuesday. "I still can go. Like I said, knock a little rust off and just keep hitting the days."
So the explosion is there?
"I can feel it," he said. "I can feel it certain days and certain days I can't. It's a thing that I feel when I play and I still got it. I touched it here and there but some days some stuff it bothers (me).
"I don't think it's a crazy challenge (to get back to a high level)," he said. "I think it's a challenge to me to keep going out and doing what I've done my whole career. It's a tougher challenge because here they expect more and it's a little different than where I've been but I'll be all right."
The 31-year-old Thomas said he still "getting the hang of" the Patriots offense but said his time with the Houston Texans and former Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien last season helped him get a grasp on some of the concepts New England uses.
There's still a couple of things I have to pick up but so far so good," he said. "I'm just trying to fit in where I can and ask as many questions as I can."
Thomas said he consults everyone – from Julian Edelman to the running backs to defensive players – for assistance on the little things that will help him be ready to contribute.
The essence of his job, he said, is "being in the right spot and catching the ball."
"I still got some work to do but it's getting better and better, I'm learning a lot," he said. "Everything (Brady) tells me I'm taking in and same with Coach McDaniels. Everything they tell me I try to take the field."
The Patriots wide receiver depth chart is a little murky. Edelman is at the top of it but rookie N'Keal Harry has been down for nearly two weeks. Undrafted rookie Jakobi Meyers has had an outstanding camp and preseason but still has a ways to go before he's got full command. Phillip Dorsett is dependable but is more a complementary piece. And Josh Gordon just took part in his first full practice Sunday.
Thomas appreciates what Brady needs and also the work the quarterback puts in. Asked what surprised him about Brady, Thomas said, "Just being able to be around him and learn the game. Sit beside him and see him go through the things he does before practice and see him be able to do it at the age he is. He's still got zip on the ball and still the best in the game at what he does."
As for being in New England, Thomas said, "It's different. The way they go about it, I see why they win so much. Everybody do their job. Nobody try to do too much."
If Thomas can do the two things he mentioned – be in the right spot and catch the ball – that will be plenty for Brady.
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Demaryius Thomas confident he can produce at a high level: "I still can go" originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston