Michael Thomas will be a ghost of his former self until Drew Brees returns

Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Michael Thomas has been back for two games, but it hasn’t felt like it since Taysom Hill’s been manning the quarterback position with Drew Brees sidelined.

Alvin Kamara isn’t the only one hurting as Taysom Hill continues to lead the team. Despite having one solid effort in Week 11, it’s clear that Michael Thomas isn’t going to be his 2019 Offensive Player of the Year self until after Brees is back.

To be fair, neither is Kamara who has -2 receiving yards in his past two games. However, it’s a bit more concerning for Thomas who hasn’t really been able to get his feet under him so far this season.

Thomas has four receptions for 50 yards against the Broncos. He had nine receptions for 104 yards against the Falcons in Week 11.

The trend that continues will likely be like the latter game, one in which the Saints still won 31-3. That said, Thomas did average over 100 yards per game last season so even at just over 75, he’s still off what he was at.

The Saints aren’t going to demolish the Falcons their second time around like they did the Broncos, but they will enter as heavy favorites. Another strong defensive performance is what it may take, and it would be shocking to see Thomas eclipse 100 yards again.

It’s not all bad.

Hill has scored a rushing touchdown in both games and Latavius Murray has exploded onto the scene. Now, while it is concerning that Thomas and even moreso Kamara’s numbers aren’t where they could be, the fact remains that the Saints are still winning games.

Kamara may actually have more at stake. Even when Brees was in, Thomas wasn’t as targeted as Kamara. While it’s been in question much, Kamara may be the main beneficiary from Brees’ arm strength not being quite there.

However, it’s clear that the team is far better at passing when Brees is in the game, not Hill. Overall, as for Thomas, it’s also concerning his snap percentage dipped to under 70 percent. The Saints were dominating but a part of that may be due to the team’s personnel with Hill.

Nonetheless, Thomas is better with Brees, and he just doesn’t have the untapped ceiling that he did with Brees leading the way. Now, it’s an interesting debate to be had if Jameis Winston is actually the best quarterback for Thomas.

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Since that looks unlikely to happen, we’ll leave it for another time.