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Can Demaryius Thomas step up in 2016?

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After a down year for Demaryius Thomas in 2015, and a Super Bowl win, can he step his game up in 2016 without Peyton Manning to throw him the ball?

Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are happy to have Demaryius Thomas at OTAs this season. Thomas is pretty happy to be back, too. After spending much of the 2015 offseason waiting for the Broncos and his agent to finalize his contract, Thomas is able to join his teammates in 2016 for all of the offseason team activities, and training camp, and preseason games.

"I wasn't here this past offseason. I forgot how OTAs were. It's fun to be around your teammates and get back to work."

Work indeed. With Peyton Manning gone, the offense is going to look a lot different in 2016. The uncertainty at the quarterback position is forcing guys like Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders to catch passes from all three potential starters. While everyone in Broncos Country is trying to figure out who the starter is, in June, Thomas is just trying to improve on a mistake filled 2015. He knows he must improve.

"Coming off of last year, of course I've got to do better with the drops."

Perhaps the understatement of the offseason. Thomas is a guy with so much talent and potential he can single handedly take over a game as a wide receiver, but when you can't get passed the little mistakes you can't take over a game. Thomas must improve in 2016. He has to start to earn his contract. He can, and he will.

Luckily, he does not have to be a vocal leader for the offense. Sanders is the probable offensive leader, especially for the wideouts.

"I do what I have to do. I'm not one of those guys that are going to be so loud about it. I tell the guys you follow and they'll pay attention, but I do have to step up and be one of those guys on this offense and this team."

Thomas can lead by example, which is the way he prefers it. That example better be making catches, blocking on run plays, and having a break out season.