ENGLEWOOD - Demaryius Thomas has been big, strong, fast and available.
Josh McDaniels’ first-round pick for the Denver Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft, Thomas will play in his 100th consecutive game, and make his 89th consecutive start tonight against the New England Patriots.
And because he’s been Durable Demaryius, he can set out to join Torrey Holt as the only receivers in NFL history to notch six consecutive seasons of at least 90 receptions and 1,000 receiving yards.
Ugly as the past month has been for the Broncos, Thomas has 90 and 1,000 to keep him going.
“Of course, every week I go out and do whatever to help the team win,’’ Thomas said. “That’s my main focus. Winning as a group, putting us in a situation to win the Super Bowl or get to the playoffs.
“But as we all know from history, 90 and 1,000 is the mark. And I think it should be my mark from here on out. I think I can do it. I still have the skill set. I still can run. I still have everything I need to do. So, my main focus is to go out every Sunday, Monday, Thursday, whatever day it is and give it my best football and put numbers on the board to help my team.’’
Thomas’ playing streak began with Tim Tebow’s first start at Miami in his memorable season of 2011. Thomas’ start streak began with Peyton Manning’s first game as a Broncos in 2012.
His starting quarterbacks have also included Brock Osweiler for a spell in 2015, Trevor Siemian and Paxton Lynch in 2016, and Siemian and Osweiler this season.
Thomas averaged 98 catches and 1,374 yards the previous five years to join Holt and Marvin Harrison as the only receivers in NFL history to have five consecutive 90-1,000 seasons.
He reached the halfway point this season with 43 catches and 525 yards so he is slightly off his coveted 90-catch pace. But if he keeps playing, and Osweiler finds his rhythm in his second game since replacing the struggling Siemian, Thomas can join Holt.
“We won some playoff games with Brock, or won some clutch games with Brock when we were making that playoff run,’’ Thomas said. “I remember last week when we were in meetings and certain things when we were in meetings he saw them on film and Brock told coach, ‘Wait, what if we had this right here?’
“Trevor is young. He wants to say it but he’ll wait until the last minute at the meetings to say it. The good thing about it is both of them have it in their heads and know what’s going on. Brock just says it quicker.’’
Actually, counting playoffs, Thomas will be playing in his 110th consecutive game and making his 99th consecutive start tonight against the Patriots.
McDaniels, who is now New England’s offensive coordinator, picked Thomas in part because he wasn’t a troublemaker. McDaniels had run-ins in 2009 with star receiver Brandon Marshall and shied away in the following year’s draft from Dez Bryant, another first-round receiver talent but had character concerns.
Thomas has had some big games against New England, none bigger than in the 2013-season AFC Championship Game when he had 7 catches for 134 yards and a touchdown, as Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib was knocked out early by a Wes Welker crossing route/block.
How will Pats head coach Bill Belichick play Thomas tonight?
“I have no idea,’’ he said. “I really don’t. I just hope they don’t play me too tough and I can go out and have a good game, but you never know. They always throw something different at us.
“Every year the main thing with them is we cannot turn the ball over. If we fix that we’ll put ourselves in a great chance to get this win because with Tom Brady, he capitalizes on those. Every time we turn it over they capitalize and run the football on us quick. The main thing is (Belichick) throws a lot of disguises on defense and the quarterback will see that and hopefully we’ll be able to pick up and get positive yards off it.’’
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