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KR Thomas leading the charge

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That's not Devin Thomas. He has a different philosophy.

"I just try to hit it hard and run fast," the 6-foot-2, 221-pound Thomas said. "And if somebody is in the way, try to lower my shoulder."

A wide receiver by trade, Thomas added to his special teams resume on Monday night, breaking loose for a 73-yard kick return late in the first quarter. With that, Thomas may have gained a leg up on the open competition for return duties.

"If that's something they want me to do, I'm definitely going to take that job," Thomas said. "I definitely feel like that's something I could bring to the table. That's pretty much how I like to run. I try not to do a lot of dancing. That slows me down. So if I can hit it full speed, make one cut or two, just keep going, that's a lot better for me."

Thomas returned all three kicks from the Bears for an average of 46.0 yards, which was 27 more than last year's average. The Giants special teams ranked second to last in the league in both kick (19.0 avg.) and punt (6.1) returns in 2010, with longs of 42 and 22, respectively, and no touchdowns.

While teams continue to gauge the effect of the new kickoff rules, it's safe to say the Giants placed a lot of emphasis on the return game. And it all starts up front.  

"I just had great blocks," Thomas said. "I felt like anybody could have run through those holes tonight. They were just huge holes and I just tried to hit it on the run. I know the kicks were going to be deep, but I just wanted to make sure I was coming forward when I got it – just hit it."

Before coming to the Giants late last season, Thomas, a second round draft pick, returned 35 kicks for an average of 23.9 yards with the Washington Redskins and then the Carolina Panthers.

"I just feel like there's a lot of energy right now, a lot of energy from young guys trying to compete and trying to make the team," said Thomas, who also had two catches for 20 yards. "I feel like that's what we're preaching in training camp – just emphasizing full speed and hard hitting and I've seen a lot of that tonight. I'm proud of all our guys."

Part of that may be due to the addition of special teams guru Larry Izzo to the coaching staff this season.

"He's been very helpful," Thomas said. "He definitely is helping us just be aggressive. He brings the same mentality he played with to us – just letting us go out there and just knock somebody's head off if we can."


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