Around the NFL  

 

Saints 'stud' WR Michael Thomas dazzles in opener

Print

At first blush, the Twitter handle of New Orleans Saints rookie receiver Michael Thomas seems audacious: @CantGuardMike. But each day he seems to back up the claim.

Thomas received rave reviews for his play during training camp practices, specifically for making acrobatic catches.

Thursday night, the rookie showed it's not just Saints defensive backs who struggle to guard him. Thomas caught four of six targets for 67 yards. It wasn't just that he caught those passes, it's how he caught them.

Exhibit A:

And again, even better this time:

(Click here for another look at that diving catch.)

Sure, it's just one preseason game -- and we admittedly can be prone to overhyping rookies early. It's not just us gushing over Thomas.

Here is what his teammates have said recently:

"That's something you are going to see a lot throughout the season," quarterback Garrett Grayson said, via the Times-Picayune. "That kid's an absolute stud."

"He's big and physical," Luke McCown said Tuesday. "He runs mad. He's just not afraid. He's got a very tenacious attitude toward the football in the air. He's going to go get it. In a rookie player, that's what you look for. He's not timid. He's not scared of contact. I love his attitude and his willingness to play like that."

"We haven't had a guy that aggressive to the ball in a long time," right tackle Zach Strief added this week. "He runs routes like he wants to fight for the ball. And that's something that guys either have or don't have. He's made a lot of big plays in a short amount of time already. He's got a long way to go, just like we all do. But you can't be more excited about a player two weeks into camp."

Don't worry, Saints fans, all the adulation isn't going to the rookie's head.

"I think I played decent," Thomas said after Thursday's loss. "I left a couple of plays out there I wish I could have had back. ... We've been doing a lot of drills to help me beat press coverage."

If he keeps having "decent" games like Thursday night, the rookie, who sits No. 4 on the depth chart, will force Sean Payton to give him more playing time.

Print