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Article 3 NFL Takeaways: Michael Thomas Might Be the Best Player in the NFL

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Baltimore Ravens' quarterback Lamar Jackson is going to win the NFL MVP, and there's a good chance that Seattle Seahawks' quarterback Russell Wilson will finish runner up. There's a case to be made, though, that New Orleans Saints' star wide receiver Michael Thomas should win the Offensive Player of the Year, as he's perhaps established himself as the most dominant player at any position in the sport.

In the Saints' 38-28 win in Tennessee in Week 16, Thomas hauled in 12 passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. It was his seventh game in 2019 with at least 120 receiving yards. It was his ninth game this season with at least 10 receptions, which is a fitting way to note that he broke Hall of Famer Marvin Harrison's record for receptions in a single season, a record that had stood since 2002.

A year ago, Thomas was an All-Pro, as he led the NFL with 125 catches, while also tallying 1,405 yards and nine touchdowns. The Saints rewarded the fourth-year pro with a five-year/$96.25 million extension prior to the season, guaranteeing him over $60 million. Thomas, still only 26, has rewarded the Saints in turn with one of the greatest individual seasons that a wide receiver has ever had. He's set a new record with 145 catches, and has 1,688 receiving yards entering the final week of the 2019 season, a staggering total.

Mind you, future Hall of Famer Drew Brees missed nearly six full games in 2019 with a thumb injury. In the five games that the Saints were without Brees entirely, they went 5-0 with Teddy Bridgewater under center. Some of that is probably indicative of Bridgewater being a starting-caliber...

Random thoughts midway through the season

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  • I have always in my mind divided the season into four 4 game mini-seasons. I figure if you go 3-1 in each mini-season you end up at 12-4, probably win your division and maybe even get a bye. Its hard to win 12 games in the NFL. 7-1 is a great mid season record. Before the season started I would have taken 6-2 in a heartbeat.
  • After Brees got hurt I was hoping for 5-3 and thinking even at 4-4 we were in the hunt for the West with 2 games each left with Atlanta and Carolina. I did not see 7-1 coming after L.A. game and then road trip to Seattle. Not in my dreams did I foresee 7-1.
  • I wrote earlier this year the biggest news that happened which passed with little fanfare was the signing of Sean Payton to a new deal. I rue the day Drew retires, but I think as long as Payton is our coach we will be competitive. His coaching work with Brees hurt has been the best of his career, and that is saying a lot.
  • I have this image in my head of Payton waking up on Mondays with a mad scientist hat on figuring out what devious new play he will design for his swiss army knife, Taysom Hill. I am still waiting for the end around flea flicker where Taysom takes the handoff and throws a bomb to himself.
  • Insurance can be expensive and you often regret paying it because you so rarely need it. The Saints paid a very large sum to Bridgewater the last two years for an insurance policy in case the the historically durable Brees got hurt, god forbid. Did that turn out to be a great move or what? Bridgewater got the keys to the Ferrari and Payton made sure he never wrecked it.
  • For anyone in the media or otherwise thinking Bridgewater should play over Brees so...

Breakdown: Saints Pressure Defense

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Hey guys, sorry it's been a few weeks. Like I said I was officiating my brother's wedding, and this week I just got a new HC job so there was a lot going on with personnel decisions, hiring staff and media obligations. But I have been wanting to do this breakdown for a few weeks now, so I hope everyone enjoys it.

Before I get started, the only thought I want to immediately share on the last (2) games is that Chauncey Gardner-Johnson is a beast. He is playing like a high-level starter, and out of nowhere. I have been really impressed with him and can't see PJ Williams getting that nickel spot back. But I'll save the rest of my takeaways for a different thread.

Saints Pressure Defense
The Saints' defense has been lights-out this season and is a huge reason why the Saints have won the last 6 games including those without 2 of the best players in the NFL (Brees and Kamara) on offense. And while the defense as a whole has really progressed and improved each and every week, what I really love is what they are doing in pressure situations with their "amoeba" front.

**Full disclosure: I have been using the same pressure principles in my defensive system for the last 3 years** I refer to the variations as either Banshee or Psycho depending on what I am asking my guys to do up front alignment-wise. Because I don't like the term "amoeba front" I will just refer to it as "Banshee" for the rest of this breakdown.

What is the Banshee Front and Why does it work?

One of the most important lessons I learned as a Defensive Coordinator is to stop overthinking matchups. Of course you have to account for and develop a plan for the playmakers of an...

Latest Saints News

How many regular season games will the NFL have in 2020?

  • News source: Chris Dunnells
  • Replies: 0
The NFL has already cut the 2020 preseason in half, cancelling the first and fourth preseason game. The Hall of Fame game has been cancelled. The 2020 season is still in currently proceeding as scheduled, but will it actually actually take place without a hitch or will the Covid-19 pandemic continue to chip away at the year?

Despite major league baseball players offering to play a longer season, MLB was adamant the league should not continue into November. Similarly, with the NBA getting ready to re-start, the NBA too made it a point to not be playing in November. With November being...
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Michael Thomas vs. Julio Jones are in a fierce battle for best NFC South receiver

  • News source: KSkiver35
  • Replies: 0
Last season, Michael Thomas made NFL history by catching the most passes in a single season in NFL history with a staggering 149. Thomas has emerged as the eminent threat in the Saints offense, and yet the superstar receiver continually gets disrespected around the league as a slant specialist who doesn’t open the field up.

That’s due in part to Thomas sharing the NFC South with Julio Jones, who is recognized around the league as a top receiver, not only today, but that the NFL has seen. Jones is likely the most physically gifted receiver the league has seen since Calvin Johnson. But if...
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Fleur-de-Links, July 6: A profile on Joe Bachie and a look at Tommy Stevens as Taysom 2.0

  • News source: Adam Dunnells
  • Replies: 0
Canal Street Chronicles recount some of the best Saints wins over the Atlanta Falcons.

A Q&A with SB Nation’s The Only Colors over how well Saints UDFA linebacker Joe Bachie fits in with the Saints’ scheme.

A profile on rookie linebacker Joe Bachie.

While Tommy Stevens may seem like Taysom Hill 2.0, he is unproven at the professional level in the way that Taysom Hill has proven his worth and abilities.

CSC contributors compile their top five biggest villains in the NFC South during the Sean Payton/Drew Brees era.

A look at how the NFL and NBA plan to deal with the pandemic ahead of...
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Johnson: Maybe it's not fair to compare Saints' Tommy Stevens to Taysom Hill — but it's hard not to

  • News source: BY LUKE JOHNSON | Staff writer
  • Replies: 0
The player in question was an all-state safety in high school. He was a punter, too, and as a freshman he played on special teams coverage units to go along with some wide receiver, tight end and linebacker.

Now he’s in the NFL, where he is first and foremost focused on being a quarterback. But he is also willing to do whatever the New Orleans Saints are asking of him.

Think you know who this player is?

You might have guessed Taysom Hill, and that is kind of the point.

When the Saints traded back into the seventh round to select former Mississippi State and Penn State quarterback Tommy...
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Life of a Saint: Will Smith

  • News source: Saintjohnbutler
  • Replies: 0
With such a storied career, it’s hard to pick a favorite memory of Will Smith.

I mean, we are talking about a player who, in college at Ohio State, was a First-Team All American, Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year, Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Second and First-Team All-Big Ten in successive years, and an SEC National Champion. When Smith made it to the NFL, he continued his storied career by being a first-round draft pick, a Pro Bowler and, of course, a Super Bowl Champion. Smith retired at #4 on the all-time New Orleans Saints career sack leader board.

The New York native...
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A look around the NFC South on SB Nation

  • News source: JR Ella
  • Replies: 0
A collection of news and stories from the other SB Nation NFC South blogs

Dante Fowler Jr. is now a Falcon. In case you had forgotten! This offseason has been so unusual with the pandemic that it feels as though it has been ages since last season ended. This new series on The Falcoholic takes a look at current Falcons players, so here’s your chance to get familiar with your enemy.

Safety Keanu Neal eager to return to the field. One of the best player in the NFC South when healthy, Neal has suffered season-ending injuries the past two seasons. The former Florida Gator has been a force in...
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Saints UDFA Profile: Michigan State linebacker Joe Bachie

  • News source: Kade Kistner
  • Replies: 0
We are beginning a new series here at Canal Street Chronicles where we will highlight some of the New Orleans Saints most promising undrafted free agents (UDFA) that were signed this offseason. We were able to sit down with SB Nation site managers and editors to get the inside scoop on each player’s time in college and how that may translate to their time in the NFL and competition for a roster spot. Up first is former Michigan State linebacker Joe Bachie.

Ryan O’Bleness, managing editor of The Only Colors, was nice enough to take the time and help us dive into why Bachie was one of the...
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Holiday happiness is remembering Saints wins over the Falcons

  • News source: Deuce Windham
  • Replies: 0
Imagine, if you will, being a quarterback in the NFL whose line struggles so badly that you’re sacked nine times in a single game. Now, imagine in that same game you throw an interception to a defensive linemen who proceeds to stiff arm you into meme-land.

That is the life of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan on November 28, 2019.

Cameron Jordan had a four sack game, Marcus Davenport chipped in two more, and interceptions by Shy Tuttle and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson all contributed to the defense providing one of the best performances in New Orleans Saints history. Not only was the...
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CSC Slack: Top Five Most-Hated Players from the Division in the Payton-Brees Era

  • News source: Andrew_Bell
  • Replies: 0
Every sports fan has a few of those players in their team’s division who just irk them when they face up against their squad. We don’t really hate them, (well...) but it’s just especially un-enjoyable when a player from a rival team makes big plays and/or celebrates in your face on a consistent basis when playing your hometown team.

Whether it be someone like Drew Brees from a Buccaneer fan’s perspective, who just tears their team apart every time he plays them; Cam Newton, who not only makes big plays, but lets you know about it when he does; Or even Matt Ryan, who just has a face that’s...
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Saints expecting more from Marcus Davenport

  • News source: Josh Alper
  • Replies: 0
The Saints traded up to take defensive end Marcus Davenport in the first round of the 2018 draft and that move was starting to pay dividends last season.

Davenport had three sacks and two forced fumbles in wins over the Panthers and Falcons in Weeks 12 and 13 last season, but the surge ended against the 49ers in Week 14. That’s when Davenport suffered a Lisfranc injury that brought his season to an end.

Saints defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen said that Davenport has “done the best that he can with his rehab” this offseason. He added that the team is looking for a big step forward as a...
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Fleur-de-Links, July 3: 49ers troll Saints and when Kiko Alonso is expected to return

  • News source: Adam Dunnells
  • Replies: 0
How the pandemic affects the players, and why that matters - Canal Street Chronicles

A further look at how the global pandemic is affecting the NFL players, with comments from the NFLPA.

Officially licensed Saints face coverings are available for the first time, with partial proceeds from the sales going to the CDC Foundation.

Linebacker Kiko Alonso, who injured his ACL at the end of the 2019 season, is expected to be recovered and return on time for Saints training camp.

The Saints expecting big production in 2020 from defensive end Marcus Davenport.

For The Win’s Steven Ruiz’s power...
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Sponsor FedEx asks Redskins to change their name; Nike pulls team apparel from online store

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WASHINGTON — The title sponsor of the Washington Redskins’ stadium wants the NFL team to change its name.

“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,“ FedEx said in a statement Thursday.

The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

In addition to the stadium name and sponsorship agreement, FedEx CEO Frederik Smith is a minority owner. Majority owner Daniel Snyder has shown no indications he’ll change the name since buying the team in 1999.

Amid the national debate over race...
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NFL to play Black anthem before national anthem beginning in 2020 season: AP Source

  • News source: By ROB MAADDI | AP Pro Football Writer
  • Replies: 0
“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” will be performed live or played before “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to each NFL game during Week 1 and the league is considering putting names of victims of police brutality on helmet decals or jersey patches, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press.

The person said the league is working collaboratively with players to recognize victims of systemic racism throughout the season in a variety of ways. The person spoke to the AP on Thursday on condition of anonymity because discussions between the league and the NFL Players Association...
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Saints banking on healthy, enthusiastic Marcus Davenport. 'He's put the work in'

  • News source: BY LUKE JOHNSON | Staff writer
  • Replies: 0
For the second time in as many professional seasons, New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport felt the rug yanked out from under him just as his immense potential to create havoc was showing.

In his last two full games of the 2019 season — Weeks 12 and 13, against divisional foes Carolina and Atlanta — Davenport recorded three sacks, two forced fumbles and seven tackles. Those two games pushed his season sack total to six. Between Davenport and Cam Jordan, the Saints starting defensive ends had 19.5 sacks in the first 12 games of the season.

Then, in the fourth quarter of a Week...
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