Thomas was awarded some playing time towards the end of the 2007 season due to injuries to Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush. In 2008 and 2009, Thomas was the team’s leading rusher. In 2009, Thomas’ best games came against the Vikings in the NFC championship and against Indianapolis in Super Bowl XLIV.
In 2010, Payton drafted up-and-coming star TE Jimmy Graham in the third round and signed UFA Chris Ivory. Both contributed nicely in 2010 when injuries plagued other offensive starters.
Payton has a motivation to be the best coach in the league and have the best team. Beating one of his role model teams, the New England Patriots, was huge stepping stone.
I can recall reading articles back in college of Payton saying he wanted to build a dynasty like that of New England. He wanted to operate like Bill Belicheck.
In his book, “Home Team, Coaching the Saints and New Orleans Back to Life,” Payton says, “Let me tell you, I do a great Belichick.”
In 2011, Payton made one of the biggest moves in the draft by taking Cameron Jordan, defensive end from Cal at 24, then trading up with New England to draft Mark Ingram at 28.
On Tuesday, and throughout the week, we’ll find out what the “Master of Free Agency” has in store for us. Payton is great at finding talented undrafted free agents and keeping the salary cap low to keep players like Brees and Evans around.
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