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New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas prepared to continue assault on NFL records

'I think I can break it again'

In case you were wondering: Yes, absolutely, Michael Thomas agrees with the assessment of New Orleans Saints senior offensive assistant Curtis Johnson.

Johnson believes that Thomas, a first-team All-Pro receiver, has a 150-plus catch season in him, which would top Thomas' NFL-record 149 catches in 2019.

"Yeah, I think I can break it again," Thomas said Sunday.

The believability in the statement is supported by the fact that Thomas' reception totals have increased every year he has been in the NFL: From 92, to 104, to 125 and then 149.

"It's just kind of like what I do," Thomas said. "At my position, I set real high goals and try to accomplish them along with winning football games, and helping out the people around me.

"It's kind of like, you have goals at the beginning of the season and you kind of just chase them all year. I feel like, in my head, I was going to get it eventually. I don't really drop too many passes, so when it comes to that I just had to stay consistent and more consistent and take advantage of my opportunities and it just added up faster."

Already, Thomas holds NFL records for receptions after the first two (196), three (321) and four (470) seasons of a career. The two-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowler is fourth on the Saints' all-time receptions list, just 63 from overtaking Saints Hall of Famer Eric Martin at No. 2 on the franchise all-time list.

"I feel like it starts in practice, how consistent they are on me and how they push me in practice, how much C.J. challenges me," Thomas said. "It just makes you want to make him proud and make him right when you get to Sunday.

"That just comes with the territory when you handle your business. So you've just got to keep handling your business, and trust in how we handle our business at the Saints, trust the process and being accountable and being available. And I feel like I can break records, or be at least where the top guys are."

Thomas, renowned for his unwillingness to throttle down in practice, said he trusts to the offseason routine that has contributed to his record-breaking start.

"I pretty much stick to what I've done that's made me successful," he said, "correcting my weaknesses to catch those up to the things I'm really good at. Pretty much, at the end of the day, it goes back to just playing football, the game that you've been playing since you were a kid, and just using all your years of experience to enhance your weaknesses."

But this offseason, like every NFL player, he hasn't been able to keep sharp his talents in team workouts.

"I missed it a lot, that's for sure," he said. "But the good thing is, we're going to get some time here real soon, just to get caught back up. Just take advantage and put more emphasis on the reps you do get, and maximize those. And I feel like it becomes muscle memory. You've got to find that rhythm. Once you get in that rhythm, just stay there as long as possible."

New Orleans added free agent receiver Emmanuel Sanders this offseason, ostensibly to take advantage of coverages that target Thomas, but also to reliably produce so that, possibly, Thomas won't see as much Thomas-centric coverage as he has in past seasons.

"Any time you get a chance to play with another veteran guy that's played a lot of football and has played in championship games and has won a lot of games that plays the same position, you always get excited," Thomas said.

"Being a receiver, you want to free up the coverage. You always want to get the defense to have to go 'man' or something. You have to just figure it out what, they're going to do. So any time you can add another weapon to the other side, it just makes you more excited for the things that the offense can accomplish as a whole. We have a lot of weapons and the more weapons we have, the more exciting it's going to get. It's just simple math."

For Thomas, the math keeps adding up.

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