Healthy with regular-season experience under his belt, Washington Redskins safety Phillip Thomas has used the offseason to improve in nearly every facet of his game.
A countdown of the Top 10 images of Redskins defensive back Phillip Thomas during the 2014 season.
For the first time since being selected by the Redskins in the fourth-round of the 2013 NFL Draft, safety Phillip Thomas has had a full offseason to concentrate on improving his game.
Two years ago he was going through combine-specific drills and team visits. Last season, he was still on the mend from a Lisfranc injury in his foot that he suffered in the preseason opener.
With focus strictly on football, a healthy Thomas said it was important for him to take advatage of the days the team was not holding team workouts this offseason just as much as the days they were.
"It's vital to come back and be in as best shape as possible," Thomas told Redskins.com. "The offseason dictates how you'll be during the season. You can't start right when we start on April 20. You start back in January, back in February."
Thomas was beset by an injury in the same foot last preseason, limiting him to just two appearances before landing a spot on the practice squad.
He would eventually be promoted to the 53-man roster and appear in eight games with four starts during the season, however, recording 33 tackles with one fumble recovery.
While Thomas admitted he was pleased with the fact he was healthy enough to take in his first regular-season NFL experience, he said he learned he needs to continue to build on his skillset, most notably his technique.
Don't forget — Thomas led the nation in interceptions during his last season at Fresno State, becoming the school's first unanimous All-American selection in the process.
He said he's utilizing those who helped him achieve those marks in college to help him get ready for his third NFL season.
"There's guys that I know in Fresno that I train with for people that are upcoming in the draft, and train with them, technique, and do a lot of things like that to get better and be prepared for OTAs," he said.
This season, Thomas and the rest of the defensive backs will be operating under the guidance of position coach Perry Fewell.
Thomas said Fewell has already made a tremendous impression upon him from a coaching perspective, but, like any new coach, there's still going to be a transitional phase.
"He called me at a point throughout the offseason when I was back home and talked to him on the phone for a little bit," Thomas said. "But just in meeting rooms, talking to him, getting to understand the new verbiage of the playbook and new things."
With training camp beginning at the end of the month, head coach Jay Gruden wants to see the Redskins' safeties – a position group bolstered with the acquisitions of Jeron Johnson and Dashon Goldson this offseason – battle it out.
Thomas is one of many at the position hoping to stand out during the friendly competition in Richmond, Va.
"It'll help our depth and it'll make us a better football team when we're out there competing," Gruden said of added safety depth. "You know, we'll have the starting lineup that we know who the starters are absolutely that they don't get challenged — we want people to challenge one another for their spot."