Hey look – a playmaking wideout in Denver who has never been arrested

Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (L) celebrates scoring a touchdown over the Seattle Seahawks with teammate Jabar Gaffney in their NFL football game in Denver September 19, 2010. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)

When the Broncos finally gave up on troubled star Brandon Marshall and traded him to the Dolphins in the offseason, they deemed first round pick Demaryius Thomas the answer to their massive need for an offensive playmaker.

When Thomas struggled with a foot injury for much of the preseason and missed Denver’s loss last week in Jacksonville, it was easy to question whether or not he would make an impact his rookie year.

But apparently he will.

The former Georgia Tech product caught eight passes for 97 yards and a touchdown in the Broncos’ 31-14 rout of the Seahawks on Sunday. He was targeted nine times, so the fact that he caught eight of the passes thrown his way shows that the rookie can make plays in Josh McDaniels’ offense.

Of course, you can’t talk about a rookie that hauled in eight passes for 97 yards without talking about the man who was pitching him the rock. Kyle Orton finished 25-of-35 for 307 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions, proving once again that he’s more comfortable in his second year under McDaniels. Denver’s running game once again couldn’t get going, but with the way Orton threw the ball Knowshon Moreno and company weren’t needed.

As for the Seahawks, their 31-6 victory over the 49ers smells flukish in light of how they played today. Not that winning at home and losing on the road is anything new for Seattle.

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Receiver, weakside LB will be major question marks for Broncos in 2010

DENVER - NOVEMBER 23:  Defensive end Jarvis Moss #94 of the Denver Broncos leaves the line of scrimmage against the Oakland Raiders during week 12 NFL action at Invesco Field at Mile High on November 23, 2008 in Denver, Colorado. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 31-10.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

Merry training camp season, everyone. It’s been a long offseason, but football is finally gearing up again and to celebrate I’m rolling out a new series on TSR entitled “2010 NFL Question Marks,” where I discuss one or two of the biggest concerns that teams have heading into the new season. Granted, some teams have more issues than others, but I’ll primarily be focusing on the biggest problem areas. Today I’ll be discussing two potential issues that the Broncos face in 2010.

I’ve tried to stick with talking about only one position when discussing teams in this question marks series, but it’s hard not to bring up two key issues that the Broncos will face this season.

Brandon Marshall amassed 101 receptions and 10 touchdowns last season – almost half the number of TDs that Kyle Orton threw (21). The player with the next most receptions on the team last year was Jabar Gaffney, who finished with 54.

Needless to say, now that he’s in Miami the Broncos’ receivers have their work cut out for them trying to duplicate Marshall’s success.

The team did well by selecting former Georgia Tech product Demaryius Thomas in the first round of April’s draft. His skill set is off the charts and in time, he could make Denver forget about Marshall and become the Broncos’ go-to guy.

But he also keeps injuring his surgically repaired left foot and while he should be ready to go by Week 1, will the foot be a problem for him from here on out? How many times do we see a player hampered by an injury all season, even though he’s able to play every Sunday? Receivers have a difficult time making an impact in their rookie years as it is, so it stands to reason that Thomas could struggle this season.

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Randy Shannon, Jacory Harris have made Miami relevant again

The last time the Miami Hurricanes started a season 2-0, they finished 9-3 and thumped Florida in the Peach Bowl.

Thanks to a head coach who has brought swagger back to the program and a playmaker at quarterback, Miami has started 2-0 for the first time since 2004. With their 33-17 win over Georgia Tech on Thursday night, the Hurricanes have started their ’09 season by beating two ranked opponents. (The first was Florida State, whom Miami beat 38-34 on September 7.)

Randy Shannon has made his mark on a Hurricane team that is playing more inspired and focused than in years past. And it’s clear that with Jacory Harris under center, Miami finally has a quarterback that can make plays in the passing game and keep the chains moving.

In the victory over Tech last night, Harris completed 20 of his 25 pass attempts for 270 yards and three touchdowns. He’s just a sophomore, but he shows a calm, cool demeanor in the pocket and doesn’t appear to get rattled when a play breaks down. As long as he continues to mature as a passer, he’s going to be a Heisman candidate in the near future.

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2009 CFB Preview: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Check out our other 2009 college football previews.

Preseason Ranking: No. 15 in AP Top 25; No. 15 in USA Today Poll.

Key Returning Players: Jonathan Dwyer (RB); Josh Nesbitt (QB); Demaryius Thomas (WR); Lucas Cox (RB); Anthony Allen (RB); Roddy Jones (RB); Cord Howard (G); Dan Voss (C) Tyler Melton (WR); Scott Blair (K/P); Anthony Barnes (LB); Morgan Burnett (S); Derrick Morgan (DE); Mario Butler (CB); Sedric Griffin (LB), Kyle Jackson (LB), Dominique Reese (S); Rashaad Reid (CB).

Key Losses: Michael Johnson (DE); Vance Walker (DT); David Brown (OT); Andrew Gardner (OT); Darryl Richard (DT); Jabi Word-Daniels (CB).

Player to Watch: Jonathan Dwyer, RB.
In Anthony Allen, Roddy Jones and Lucas Cox, the Jackets boast a slew of talented backs, although Dwyer is the cream of the crop. Running backs coach Brian Bohannon worked all spring on trying to find ways to get his best players on the field more, including lining his backs up in both the A-back and B-back positions in Tech’s offense. A legitimate Heisman candidate, Dwyer is often the most exciting player on the field and thanks to Bohannon’s new schemes, the back should get even more opportunities to shine in ‘09. As long as a recent hip flexor injury doesn’t slow him down, Dwyer should be in for another great season.

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