How Michael Thomas’ absence impacted Drew Brees’ first reads, the separation on targets and how the Saints operated

Rank Michael Thomas wherever you want.
 
There is probably a proper place to slot him, but some people think catching one of every five passes for 35 yards is better than catching seven of every eight for 8 yards at a time. Doesn't matter. We all agree that he sits somewhere in the single digits among the league's best wide receivers.
 
But that didn't seem to matter. For some reason, conclusions got drawn on the Saints and who they are and what they can be while Thomas was sidelined for six weeks for various reasons. All of that was and remains ridiculous, and New Orleans showed why during Sunday's 38-3 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
 
Thomas was also quick to show what he means to this team, and all it took was one route to remind everyone that he doesn't do things like ordinary wide receivers. He is special. Different. Perhaps not the key to everything, but the key to many things and the team has to operate differently when he isn't on the field.

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