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Michael Thomas is succeeding by making everything seem 'the same'

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Old 09-06-2018, 06:15 PM   #1
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Old 09-06-2018, 06:16 PM   #2
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Re: Michael Thomas is succeeding by making everything seem 'the same'

BY NICK UNDERHILL | NUNDERHILL@THEADVOCATE.COM SEP 6, 2018 - 4:56 PM

Maybe the key to Michael Thomas' success is always being the same.

People like to use that phrase, "the same," when discussing the things about him that make the Saints wide receiver great and unique. And it’s not meant that he does everything the same as everyone else. It’s about the level of consistency and evenness to his attitude and level of play.

His intensity during a walkthrough is the same as it is during a game, and his detailed approach to playing the position never lets up.

So, when Thomas sends out some tweets like the one he did this week, it doesn’t surprise anyone.

“Game Week!” he wrote. “Y’all going to have to stop playing me after this season (too). I promise. #SkiMaskSeason #StrongArmEverything. #Ineedallthat”

He kept going, adding in another tweet, “All the friendly (expletive) over. I’m telling you now.”

It comes off like an announcement about how Thomas is going to take his game to a new level. And maybe he is, but it sounds like that is just Mike being Mike.

This is the same guy who wanted to play hard in Pro Bowl practices and brings it every single day during training camp. While that might sound like an announcement about how he’s going to turn it on for the season, those close to Thomas see him already operating at a 10.

“That is the one thing about him, his preparation, his focus, everything,” Payton said. “It is consistent. It’s hard for Mike to have a walk through just because he’s so wired into his assignment, what he’s doing, how to improve.”

And being the same is the reason he has so much success on the field. Thomas’ intense attention to detail and preparation has allowed him to quickly figure out how to disguise his routes and keep his intentions concealed.

Since he knows defensive backs are trained to look at where the receiver is lined up on every route and glance at his feet to help determine his route, Thomas, who along with Odell Beckham Jr. are the only players to start their careers with two seasons of 90 catches and 1,000 yards, tries to hide the details and uses his previous routes to set up the next ones.

“Mike doesn’t try to make himself so predictable,” quarterback Drew Brees said. “Mike goes out there and is able to change things up enough and develop fundamentals with each route to where he’s the one dictating to the DB what he’s going to do versus the other way around.”

Thomas has done a little bit of everything, including go routes, but he’s built his name on hitches (52 catches, 520 yards) and slants (31, 331). Thomas recently explained that he likes the physicality of both routes and believes his willingness to go there is why he succeeds.

Entering his third year, Thomas has become so proficient on those routes that New Orleans has entire plays built around his ability to run them. One of the more common plays New Orleans uses is out a formation where Thomas runs a slant from one side of the field while three other players line up on the other side and block.

Depending on the look, the play can change, but the goal is to get it to Thomas first.

“If he’s singled up there is the throw,” quarterbacks coach Joe Lombardi said. “If there is a flat defender underneath or the slant doesn’t look as premium hopefully we have a concept on the other side that we’ll go to.”

The Saints have been running the play for a while with different players, but the it now belongs to Thomas. The route itself has become more prolific overall. Brees targeted a slant route 34 times in 2016, marking the first time he’s ever eclipsed 30 in a single year. He targeted it 25 times last year.

And now, that, too, will settle into that range and it will be the same as everything else. Thomas has made everything seem so natural and normal since entering the league two years ago, and even though his play and production has remained consistent, there is nothing normal about how he’s started his career.

“Your best?!? Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home (with) the prom queen.” - Sean Connery in The Rock
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Old 09-08-2018, 12:03 PM   #3
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Re: Michael Thomas is succeeding by making everything seem 'the same'

Barring injuries, MT will end up being the Saints' best receiver ever

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Old 09-09-2018, 12:39 PM   #4
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Re: Michael Thomas is succeeding by making everything seem 'the same'

#13 is going to be the number one in jersey sales!
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