Denver Broncos star tight end Julius Thomas went down with a sprained knee in Sunday’s big win over the previously undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, and he missed practice on Wednesday after being labeled as day-to-day. Thomas returned to the practice field yesterday, but he barely participated in drills. Now, the USA Today’s Lindsay Jones reports that Julius Thomas is back at practice today, and, more importantly, he’s doing more than he did yesterday.
With two practices under his belt, Thomas is a virtual lock to play in this week’s huge Sunday Night Football matchup against the New England Patriots. Not only is it a marquee matchup for the Broncos, but it’s also a chance for the Broncos to add to their gap in record on the Patriots for home-field advantage purposes. Thomas will be a huge part of that, because he’s blossomed into one of the best pass-catching tight ends in the NFL. The man creates mis-matches with ease, and he’s just about as big of a weapon in the passing game as Rob Gronkowski is for the Patriots. Due to his ability to line up anywhere and his uncanny speed at the tight end position, Thomas could cause some huge problems for the Patriots defense.
Wes Welker technically needs to be cleared by doctors in order to pass through the league’s mandatory concussion protocol and play this week, but he’s a lock to play this week against his former team. His return is probably the biggest storyline heading into this week’s storyline-filled game (it’s bigger than Brady-Manning, since that’s gotten dry over the years), and you can tell it’s a huge story just by listening to Bill Belichick’s drab responses to questions regarding Welker.
Jones also tweeted in the same link that Welker is once again back at practice today, and nobody should doubt his status this week. He’s playing against his old team, and former teammates Tom Brady and Devin McCourty already stated earlier this week that there was no question in their minds that the tough-as-nails slot receiver would play this week. To be honest with you, Welker is the best bet to have a big game this week among the Broncos four horsemen, whereas Eric Decker and Thomas have the most upside this week.