Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 4/8/12

Two years ago, Mike Thomas was one of the league’s up-and-coming receivers, hauling in 66 passes while playing on a basic, run-first offense. In 2011, he couldn’t repeat that success — not even coming come close — and now lets us know why.

Thomas told the Florida Times-Union that the prior coaching staff may be at fault for the poor production, as Jacksonville’s receiving corps “might not have been pushed hard enough” last season.

More specifically, Thomas is criticizing former receivers coach Johnny Cox, who, after two years as the offensive quality control coach, took over for Todd Monken after he bolted to become Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator.

The transition from Monken to Cox was an uneasy one for the Jags’ wideouts, and the difference in coaching styles was more than apparent.

“There was a difference,’’ Thomas said. “I think everybody can see and feel that, so that’s why we are here where we are today.”

Fortunately for Thomas and his peers, Cox was let go when new head coach Mike Mularkey brought in his own staff. Mularkey coaxed Jerry Sullivan out of retirement to head the position.

Sullivan is a no-nonsense, “technician guy,” who says he will “make guys better than they think they are.” In a lot of ways, he’s cut from the same cloth as Monken, which is music to Thomas’ ears.

“I have heard enough about him to know what he’s about. I’m ready for it in a good sense. I’m open to it. I know he’s going to be coaching me as hard as he can. It will be good. I need that because I have a lot of room to grow. Hopefully, it turns out for the better. I’m going into it with an open mind and expect him to push me and make me the great player that I want to be,” Thomas said.

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