Video

Joe Thomas Honored, Inducted to Browns Legend Program

The 33rd Team’s Joe Thomas was honored Sunday in Cleveland as he was inducted into the Browns Legend Program, in front of family and friends.

Thomas played eleven seasons for the Browns and was named a First-Team All-Pro six times after being drafted in the first round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Over the course of his career, Thomas only played for one team—a rarity in the modern NFL. In this video, Thomas gives his thoughts on being honored, and what it means to him and his family.

Video

Lions’ Hutchinson Proving He Should Have Been No. 1 Pick

The 33rd Team contributor Joe Thomas dives into what makes Detroit Lions rookie pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson so talented and why his game will translate to NFL success. Thomas had Hutchinson as his No. 1 player in the 2022 draft; the Lions got him at No. 2.

“He might start a little bit slow when he’s going against the premier talent at left tackle and right tackle,” Thomas said. “But by mid-season, he’s going to show exactly why I had him as the No. 1 overall player in this last NFL draft.”

Analysis

Outside Zone Running Makes Titans’ Henry, Colts’ Taylor Special

Who are the best running backs in the NFL? Former Cleveland Browns All-Pro tackle and The 33rd Team contributor Joe Thomas details why he believes Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor are the cream of the crop, and why he would have enjoyed blocking for them.

“Their ability to accelerate and reach top speed and run through arm tackles is what makes them exceptional outside zone runners,” Thomas said.

Analysis

Browns Still Have Playoff Path, Even With Watson Suspended

Even without quarterback Deshaun Watson for most of the season, Joe Thomas believes his former team still has a path to the playoffs. Thomas is a big believer in Cleveland’s defense and ground game. Anything above .500 through Watson’s 11-game suspension, Thomas reasons, could be enough for the Browns to navigate the remainder of the season to the top of the AFC North.

“I think their defense is going to be really tough,” Thomas says. “And that run game, combined with that defense, is going to hold them and carry them through until Deshaun Watson comes back.”

Analysis

Nothing Dirty About Hit on Giants’ Thibodeaux

Editors note: Dirty or clean play? That was a hot debate following Sunday’s controversial block on Giants rookie pass rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux by Cincinnati tight end Thaddeus Moss. The 33rd Team asked former NFL all-pro tackle Joe Thomas for his opinion.

 

To me, it looks like what Cincinnati Bengals tight end Thaddeus Moss was coached to do. That’s exactly what you do when you’re a tight end, and you’re being asked to go across the formation on one of these away blocks or these back blocks.

Almost all of the time you’re cutting the defensive end because, first of all, he can see you, so you’re at a disadvantage from the start. Secondly, you’re usually a smaller player than he is, and he’s a better defender against the block. In that situation, you’re almost always going to be taught to go low to cut the player to make him at least go around you, and to use his hands to defend himself.

You feel bad that Thibodeaux got injured in that situation. At the same time, that doesn’t mean the play was dirty, and it also doesn’t mean Moss did anything wrong. If anything, Thibodeaux should have done a better job using his hands to defend himself in that situation. He should have the awareness that when you have that tight end coming across the formation in those inside zone-type plays, he’s gonna go low and you need to be prepared for it.

Steep Learning Curve for Young Players

One of the reasons you see these young players getting injured a lot during the preseason and the first few years of their careers is because they have a lot of things they’re thinking about other than their technique, and other than how to defend themselves against the block. If you’ve got a lot of things on your mind, it just makes you half a second and a little bit of a click too slow to respond and to react to things.

In that situation, Thibodeaux tried to lower his inside shoulder to take on the block as if the player was going to block him high. When Moss was coming across the formation, he was going low the entire way. It wasn’t like he faked he was gonna block him up high and then went low on him, or vice versa. He telegraphed that the entire way.

Thibodeaux should have been able to realize he needed to defend himself with his hands and keep his feet away from him so he could try to shuffle down the line of scrimmage and maintain his gap.

The Final Word

My point has always been this: If the defense doesn’t like getting cut by the offensive players, then I think it’s reasonable to say that on defense, you can’t go low on the running back. So, if you’re a safety or cornerback and you’ve got a big running back like Nick Chubb coming at you, if you don’t think that it’s fair for (offensive linemen) to cut you up front, then you shouldn’t be able to go low on that running back and you should have to stand there and let him run a hole right through your chest, steamroll you and just continue on to the end zone.

That’s part of the game. It’s going low in tackling, it’s going low in blocking, especially when you’re faced up. That’s just part of football. Unfortunately, injuries do happen occasionally. But in this situation, it was all clean. You feel bad there’s an injury but there’s nothing really more to discuss with this block.

 

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