Michael Thomas blocks out distractions to focus on winning Super Bowl
The numbers do not lie.
Michael Thomas was the best, most productive wide receiver in the NFL in 2019.
For that matter, you can make the case that he was the best in 2018 as well.
Thomas led the NFL in catches in 2018 with 125 catches, which produced 1,405 yards and nine touchdowns.
It was his second straight season with 100 or more catches as Thomas caught 104 passes in 2017.
Thomas set NFL records in 2019 with 149 receptions, the most ever in a single season in NFL history. He led the league in receiving yards with 1,725 and scored nine touchdowns.
Thomas holds the NFL record for the most receptions by a player through his first four seasons with 470.
In just four seasons, Thomas is already fourth in franchise history in receptions and in receiving yards.
Speaking to the media by conference call Sunday morning about his records, Thomas stated that he sets very high goals and tries hard to accomplish them, that you chase goals all season and strive to be consistent and take advantage of the opportunities you get.
Thomas will undoubtedly have his best running mate since Brandin Cooks at wide receiver, perhaps the best he has had with the Saints with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders. Thomas said that having Sanders will help dictate more man coverage and free up coverage, that he is excited about how having another weapon will open things up for the offense.
Another young player who is a star for New Orleans is cornerback Marshon Lattimore. Thomas said Lattimore is good because “he has that dog mentality and he is going to make you earn it.” Thomas feels Lattimore can become even better if he becomes more consistent, saying he can become one of the top two, if not the top corner in the NFL and that Lattimore understands how to play.
The possibility of playing games with vastly reduced crowds or even without fans will be different but Thomas is not concerned.
“As long as we’re keeping score, it won’t be too difficult,” Thomas said. He acknowledged that it will be different but that you simply must adjust and focus on what you have to focus on.
Barring a significant injury, Thomas is well on his way to smashing every receiving record in New Orleans Saints history. With his work ethic and competitive nature, he will be hard to deny.
Thomas admitted that he missed working out with the team a lot but that the good thing is that the team will get some real time soon.
Not having a preseason will make the 2020 season a unique challenge for everyone in preparing for the regular season. Thomas said the Saints must maximize their opportunity, that everyone is sharing the same window of preparation. He added that the teams that prepare the right way will end up competing for a championship.
Thomas added that a true professional who loves and cares about the game will know when to lock in and handle his business. He has his own ritual of preparing and is sticking to it, working on correcting what he may perceive as his own weaknesses, though none are visible to most observers.
As he enters his fifth season, it could be Thomas’ final season with future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees.
While some feel the window of opportunity may be closing with the brilliant of career of Brees nearing a close, Thomas has tunnel vision and a singular focus, despite the awful endings to three consecutive seasons when the Saints were genuine contenders for Super Bowl honors.
“It’s been Super Bowl or bust since I got here, if you can’t tell,” Thomas said.
Thomas added that to achieve the goal, the Saints must correct “little mistakes that are costing us big,” acknowledging that the Saints have a lot of talent on paper.
Like his other teammates who have spoken on the matter, Thomas says the controversy of Drew Brees comments regarding the national anthem is gone, saying the team is past it, has come together, that the team has handled it as men and that the players today must influence the younger generation.
Then, there is the lingering cloud hanging over the season of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thomas said that everyone simply has to figure things out and learn, that new information is being learned daily, that testing must continue daily, that players much take care of themselves and each other as the main focus.
Watching what has happened with other professional sports has given Thomas perspective on the matter.
“I can’t control that,” Thomas said. “I hear the stuff about baseball but I hear some teams don’t have any issues. The NBA has no issues in the bubble. If the NFL is not strict on their guidelines, there will be consequences that come with that. You just have to take care of yourself.”
Thomas said the team is focused on winning the championship and will do everything to accomplish the goal.
With his ability and dogged determination, Thomas will most likely give the Saints every chance to achieve that goal and to perhaps send Brees out as a champion once again.
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Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…