The New Orleans Saints own one of the most potent offenses in football, while the Chicago Bears counter with a red-hot defense. But what would New Orleans’ offense look like without its top pass catcher?
That might be something the Saints have to deal with on Sunday if Michael Thomas’ knee issues persist. Herbie Teope of the Times-Picayune reports Thomas was limited in Thursday’s practice with a knee injury – though this happens to be an upgrade for Thomas, who missed Wednesday’s practice altogether. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton doesn’t seem to believe Thomas’ knee issues present much of a problem. When asked during a teleconference whether Thomas’ injury was significant or long-term, Payton responded “No.”
So much for gaining clarity regarding that injury situation.
Thomas is Pro Football Focus’ 15th highest-graded receiver and leads the team in targets (54), receptions (35), and receiving yards (403). His presence on the field will likely draw the watchful eye of Prince Amukamara, who is PFF’s 24th highest-graded cornerback. Amukamara has held opposing team’s leading receiver out of the end zone in each of the last three games, so even a healthy Thomas might have his hands full.
If Thomas can’t give it a full go or sees his playing time trimmed to ensure his health over the course of 60 minutes, Willie Snead returned last week and Ted Ginn is still a big-play threat. But like the Bears, running backs are targeted often with Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram ranking second and third on the team in catches.