Joe Thomas – 2015 Packers Player Report Card
- Age: 24
- Ht./Wt: 6’1″,227lbs
- College: South Carolina St.
- NFL Experience: 1 year
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.
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.
Player’s contributions in the playoffs: Thomas was decent against both Washington and Arizona. Nothing spectacular or game-changing,but solid.
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.