That wasn’t good enough for him.
So Thornton decided to take boxing classes in the offseason to help him with techniques in the NFL.
“With pass-rushing you want to have your hands and feet on the same level, so when you flip your hips and your hands it all coordinates together,” Thornton told CSNPhilly.com. “Boxing is really what we do without punching in the face. We’re actually punching the offensive linemen and we’re actually trying to get separation, and sometimes you’ve got to duck and sometimes you’ve got to dive.”
An undrafted free agent in 2011, Thornton became a starter last season at defensive end. He wants to keep it that way.
“Everybody’s like, ‘Yeah, he’s a good run-stuffer but he only had one sack,’” Thornton told CSNPhilly.com. “It’s just people putting limits on me and I started to put limits on myself, too,” he said. “I started taking myself out on third down. So this year I want to be the person that can stop the run and pass rush, too. So I’m just trying to show that I’m more than a one-dimensional player. I know that I can pass rush.”
Thornton is hoping for a long-term future with the Eagles, well beyond the 2014 season. The work started inside the boxing ring and will continue on the field in training camp next month.
“This is definitely going to set a different tone, because I never had problems pass-rushing,” Thornton told CSNPhilly.com. “I had 10 sacks in college (for Southern Arkansas) at the Division II level, but football is football. Like I said, that’s something I want to get better at. If you turn on the film, no doubt I’m getting rushes on the quarterback and I’m making impact to make the quarterback make difficult passes. I just ain’t connecting. I’m not finishing. It’s just something that hurts you inside mentally and its just something you want to get better at. This is the year I’ll get better at it. This is the year that I’ll separate myself from being just a run-stopper.”