New England Patriots

Aug 29, 2019; Foxborough, MA: New England Patriots wide receiver Demaryius Thomas carries the ball for yards during the first half against the New York Giants at Gillette Stadium. (Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports)

By Matt Dolloff,

Not only does Demaryius Thomas suddenly look ready for the season, he may be ready to start.

Ultimately it’s hard to gauge how Thomas would look against a starting defense based solely on his performance against reserves in the Patriots’ preseason finale on Thursday night. Because, well, It’s The Preseason™. But he passed the all-important “eye test” in playing much of the first half with starting QB Jarrett Stidham.

The lone blemish for Thomas was an ugly one, as he attempted to take a snap on a jet sweep away from his body and it resulted in an immediate lost fumble. But Thomas looked great from there on out, finishing his night with seven catches on eight targets for 87 yards and two touchdowns.

His first score came on a beautiful back-shoulder throw from Stidham for 35 yards to the front pylon. Thomas snatched the ball as he boxed out the cornerback and snuck easily into the end zone for the score.

For the second touchdown, Stidham escaped pressure and rolled out to the left before floating a sweet touch-pass to an open Thomas in the back of the end zone.

Thomas looked dominant against second and third-string defenders. By no means does Thursday’s performance mean he’ll look exactly the same when the real bullets start flying next weekend. But it was beyond encouraging to see his size and hands at work and at least somewhat resemble his dynamic heyday.

Perhaps most encouraging is how comfortable Thomas looked out there on non-gadget plays. He’s stayed close to Brady all summer and Brady seems to like what he’s seen from Thomas’ off-field work. If he’s quickly gained an understanding of the offense and a connection with Brady, maybe he didn’t need a lot of summer reps anyway.

The Patriots led the game 29-10 at halftime.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at