Warning: Very few folks will be interested in this. I've decided to indulge my FootBall Jones a bit more'n usual over the next few weeks, and engage in some detailed Tape Evaluation of some'f our Players. I don't have any particular schedule or plan, and I started very late, this week, but for my Fellow FootBall Degenerates, I offer the following Evaluation of Donald Thomas's Game against the Jets. It's too grueling to transcribe and reformat everything from the Blog, but I wrote up Tom Brady and Ryan Wendell, as well, if you're interested. OG Donald Thomas ~ #64!! 1 ~ At 02:50 on your Tape ~ first play of the Game, after the Opening KickOff ~ Donald Thomas wasn't nearly quick enough, and got beaten by Muhammad Wilkerson, forcing an Intentional Grounding Penalty. Bad start. 2 ~ At 10:20 on your Tape ~ first play of our 2nd Possession, 1st & 10 from our 36 ~ the Patriots ran Inside Left Guard and Stevan "You May Fire When Ready" Ridley racked up 9 Yards. Thomas acquitted himself well, sealing the outside against that same Wilkerson, and providing a Lane for Ridley, who made the most of it. 3 ~ At 10:45 ~ the very next Play, 2nd & 1 ~ the Patriots went No Huddle and opted to run it, with Ridley given the Ball, and Thomas tasked to hit the second level and take on Bart Scott. He acquitted'mself well enough, getting out past the 1st Down Marker, and fighting Scott to a Draw, though one might've hoped he'd've done better, what with a 60 Pound advantage on'm. Even so, he did'is Job, and the Patriots Moved The Chains. 4 ~ At 25:05 ~ the second Play of our 3rd Possession, 2nd & 5 from the Patriot 21, still a scoreless Tie ~ the Patriots ran it right up the Center, and I have to say: Thomas simply beat Wilkerson on that Play, sealing the Inside Left Flank, driving Wilkerson to the ground, and giving "Uncanny" Danny WoodHead enough DayLight to rip up a big 8 Yard Gain that decisively got our Offense rolling. Pretty damned impressive. 5 ~ At 31:45 ~ 2nd & 10 from the Jets 38, later in the same Drive ~ the Patriots featured Thomas in a Run right up the Gut. Thomas went Man on Man with Wilkerson, again, and I have to say: They both acquitted themselves well. Neither got too high or got stiff, and they both put their Core into it. The result was a Draw, and Thomas was able to neutralize Wilkerson, which was an invaluable part of carving out a Zone for my boy "Ricochet" Shane Vereen to blast through for a 12 Yard Gain!! So much for Vereen not being able to run up the Middle!! 6 ~ At 32:45 ~ 1st & Goal from the Jets 10 ~ the Patriots ran it up the Middle. Most will consider this a small thing, but I do not. Championships Are Won In The Trenches. On this Play, Thomas chipped Wilkerson on the way to attacking David Harris at the second level...and he executed both moves perfectly. The result was the very definition of "unremarkable": a 3 Yard Gain. And most will laugh at me for saying it, but I don't give a rat's @$$: This sort of unremarkably Grim, Grisly Play....is precisely the sort of Play on which Championships are built: Thomas dropped an exquisite Chip to help Nate "Universal" Solder neutralize the dangerous Mister Wilkerson, and then immediately drove to the second level to take on and absolutely crush the explosive and destructive Mister Harris. That enabled "Ricochet" Shane Vereen to grunt out 3 important Yards...And only because SuperBeast Sione Pouha worked'is way past Ryan Wendell and clipped Vereen before he could accelerate up the Center that Thomas'd almost single-handedly cleared out...did Vereen not pick up an whole lot more. In a word: Both teams showed Grit on this Play. Thomas and Pouha, above all. 7 ~ At 33:10 ~ 2nd & Goal from the Jets 7, on the very next Play ~ the Patriots went to My Boy Vereen, again, Off Left Guard, this time...and Thomas fought yet another Grim Battle with SuperBeast Sione Pouha, who tossed Thomas aside at the last moment to stop Vereen...who really wasn't going much further at that point, frankly, as the Line'd stiffened up. But it was good for 4 Grim, Grisly Yards, to take us down to the 3 in this scoreless Battle. Thomas is young and still learning, but he's clearly improving his Game, and I believe that the Tenacity and Power that he showed on these two Plays will be crucial, when we need him in the Trenches of Big Games in the Future. 8 ~ At 01:07:55 ~ 2nd & 5 from the Patriots 39, with that sudden & shocking 28-0 lead ~ Thomas led the Play, charging out to the second level to take on one of my beloved Binkies from the 2012 Draft, Demario Davis, and Thomas acquitted'imself well, driving Davis away though without eliminating'im: He was essential in enabling Ridley to crank out 5 big Yards, and Move The Chains. 9 ~ At 02:17:45 ~ 1st & 10 from the Patriots 13, with the annoying Jets having annoyingly narrowed our lead to 35-12 ~ the Patriots went with a Run right up the Middle. Thomas took on Mike DeVito, and I have to say that DeVito got the best'f'm, getting Square and driving up and in on Thomas...Even so, Thomas held'is ground well enough that Ridley was able to surge through the Middle, and ended up picking up 8 Big Ones. 10 ~ At 02:19:20 ~ 1st & 10 from the Patriots 24, shortly thereafter ~ Thomas was once again matched against DeVito, and this time got the best'f'm. Mind you: It looked like Ridley was supposed to take it straight up the Gut, but that's just pure Speculation on my part. What I do know is that Thomas got the best of DeVito in this Battle, and turned'm to the Inside, opening up an Hole for Ridley, Off Left Guard, to blast through for 6 Big Ones. What I Saw It's no secret that I have considered Donald Thomas to be a very intriguing developmental O Guard. This is a guy who hasn't had many years with which to master'is Craft: 6 years ago, he was a Tight End. This was just 18 months before he got drafted ~ this former standout Defensive Tackle, standout 1st Baseman, Pitcher, and of course: standout Center ~ Basketball Center ~ as an O Guard!! So it's taken'm a while to develop his Game, as one might expect...But it has finally started to click for'm on a consistent basis, and he has taken enormous strides, this year, which were quite evident against the Jets. All the most vital Attributes for a Grizzly's success ~ Core Power, Core Strength, and Fluidity ~ were on plentiful display, last week, as well as Dexterity. Thomas was consistently squared up and in position to make Plays, and against some formidable adversaries ~ Sione Pouha and David Harris, in particular. I'll call'm a Prospect no more: I think we've got a genuine starting Offensive Guard, here. And he's well on'is way to becoming a very good one.