Hall of Fame running back Thurman Thomas is as excited as everyone else in Bills Nation about the upcoming season. Thomas shared some of his thoughts during an hour long, in studio visit to the WGR Morning show on Thursday.
Thomas noted you couldn’t help but have high hopes after the Bills off season moves. “Mario(Williams), Mark Anderson, Fitz(Ryan Fitzpatrick), Fred Jackson, Stevie Johnson, they spent money” Thomas said. They’re keeping the core players and adding. If you know Dave Wannstedt, you know the type of defense they are going to have. I’m excited about it. They’ve done everything they possibly could do to make this team better even with the draft. Hopefully this is it. I’m always optimistic at the beginning of the season but I haven’t been this excited in a long time. I think it’s a lot of pressure on them because they’re getting the players now.”
Thomas feels the Bills can really set the tone for the season in week one and even called the road opener with the AFC East rival New York Jets a “must” win. “ It almost feels like they have to go out and win this game” Thomas said. “ I think you start looking within the division. The Patriots are still the top team but if the Bills can stay healthy, with that defense. When I saw the schedule I thought 10 or 11 wins right there and squeak into the playoffs. They have to start off fast like they did last year. They have a good closing schedule.”
Thurman also talked about the running back position and remarked how the presence of both Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller reminds him of when he and Kenneth Davis were partners in the backfield. As were many Bills fans, Thomas was impressed with Spiller’s performance last season after Jackson went down with a season ending injury in week 11.
“When he got picked 2 years ago, that’s what everyone was expecting right away but he had Freddy Jackson there and he had to learn” Thomas noted. “ Now CJ knows how to do this and you can see how his running style changed the last 5 or 6 games. “
As far as how to utilize both men in the offense, Thomas knows Head Coach Chan Gailey will have a plan.
“You have to use Fred as much as you possibly can and you have to use CJ. Chan Gailey has to find a way to use both of these guys” Thomas told WGR.
“Freddy always made a big play whether it was in the running game or the passing game. He’s just been a remarkable player. I hope he comes out and does it again.”
On the topic of the head coach, whom Thomas once played for when Gailey was an assistant in Miami, Thurman is a big fan. “I love him as a head coach. He’s straight forward. When he was in Miami he called me out in a meeting once” Thomas recalled. “ He is straight forward with everything. I think the 3 years he’s been here, he has built something. He’s got players know. I talked to Chan and the first thing he said is now we’re going to see if I’m a good coach or not.”
Thomas said the Alumni are all excited for the upcoming season and he thinks we’ll see more of them coming back to Ralph Wilson Stadium for the games.