Saints: QB change could lead to disappointing season for Michael Thomas
Just two years removed from a season that earned him the Offensive Player of the Year award, New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas is entering a critical season.
Fresh off a season in which he totaled over 1,700 receiving yards, Thomas only played in seven games in 2020 due to injury. He finished the year with 438 yards and didn’t find the end zone once, which was the first time this happened to him during his career.
While Saints fans expect Thomas to bounce back and be more of the 2019 version than the 2020 version, not everyone believes he’ll be that same guy. Kristopher Knox of Bleacher Report lists Thomas as the one player from the Saints’ roster who might disappoint this year.
Knox had this to say:
"Thomas’ skill set isn’t going anywhere, but Brees has departed.This will leave Thomas working with either Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston this season—or both—which could lead to diminished returns. Thomas was far from terrible in four games with Hill last year—he had 30 catches and 343 receiving yards—but that’s only a small sample size."
As Knox notes, it isn’t that Thomas won’t be the same player he once was skills-wise, but rather that the change at quarterback is going to hurt his production. He’s not wrong there, but at the same time, Thomas excelled in 2019 even when Drew Brees was out for five games.
Will Saints WR Michael Thomas suffer due to the change at QB?
If Jameis Winston wins the starting job, this is a guy who tossed for over 5,100 yards in 2019 when he was the quarterback of the Buccaneers. He’s no slouch when it comes to throwing the football and people seem to forget that.
Thomas could really benefit from Winston being the Saints’ quarterback because of his ability to air out the ball, which is something Brees struggled with in the final year of his career. Winston still has the arm strength to get the ball down the field and get it into the hands of Thomas.
Now, will Thomas be the 1,700+ receiver that he was in 2019? It’ll be tough to do that, especially considering he’s the best receiving weapon on the Saints’ roster, which will force defenses to zero in on him. At the same time, however, it’s not impossible, especially with someone like Winston throwing to him.
Knox is entitled to his opinion, but I’m not buying that Thomas will be a disappointment in 2021. If anything, he’s going to surprise a lot of people, even being the big name that he is.