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Results speak most for record-setting New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas

'Just go hard and get great results'

2018 Season

Saints 21 - Browns 18
Saints 1-1 in 2018 Regular Season


New Orleans Saints 2018 Season

Michael C.  Hebert
2018 Season Saints 21 - Browns 18 Saints 1-1 in 2018 Regular Season New Orleans Saints 2018 Season Michael C. Hebert

Do not jam a recorder or camera in front of him, press "play" and expect the unvarnished Michael Thomas. During those times, he's as likely as any NFL player to cliché you up.

And don't expect much chatter from him during games, unless provoked.

"It depends if they give me the talk," he said. "I'm not shying away from talking."

One measure of his temperament can be detected in his actions after a catch, when Thomas flexes his biceps like a bodybuilder.

"Flexing does a lot of talking because when I flex, good things are probably happening," he said.

For another measure, read his Twitter lines, where @Cantguardmike gives an indication of what really might be on his mind:

"I get a (kick) out of calling your bluff when you testing my game."

"I don't want to pass if I'm loafin'."

"You got to lose everything a few times before you feel me."

"Never underestimate the value of winning. I learned that early on."

"The best thing to do is just get back to work. The work comes first."

"All money in, no money out."

And for a third, and perhaps most accurate, measure, witness his unleashed ferocity, likely the truest form of his expression.

Look at the game tape. The film does not lie.

What it shows is a receiver who smoothly runs routes while he often throws hands like Chuck Norris, with similar results. One who set an NFL record for catches in his first two seasons (196), and opened 2018 by setting an NFL record for catches in the first two games (28).

One who is prepared for every challenge, including Sunday's against the Falcons in Atlanta.

"It just goes back to all the hard work we put in, the great coaching I'm getting day in and day out, watching guys like Ted (Ginn Jr.) and different guys in the group, and just being able to respond during adversity and just go hard and get great results," Thomas said.

It's impossible to argue with the results so far in Thomas' career, and this season.

He leads the league in receptions, is tied for second in receiving touchdowns (three) and is third in receiving yards (269). The blemish has been two lost fumbles, one in each game, and they are mistakes that Thomas knows cannot continue. It hasn't been a glaring issue for him in the past, and doesn't figure to be in the future.

Meanwhile, there's the jump-off-the-page production to consider. Because for a New Orleans Saints offense that historically has had the wealth spread more evenly, Thomas currently is dominating the numbers with 43 percent of Drew Brees' 65 completions, 39 percent of Brees' 682 passing yards and three of his five touchdown passes. Last year, when he set a franchise record with 104 receptions, for 1,245 yards, he accounted for 27 percent of Brees' completions and 29 percent of his passing yards.

Thomas has met his goal of a fast start, and then some. Likely, the percentage of receptions, yards and scores will decrease as teammates' involvement increases.

But if Thomas is taking what the opposing defense is giving, then the Saints won't stop taking it.

"It's always in the framework of the play or the concept or what's going on," Brees said. "You're always identifying matchups and different things. I mean, listen, for one reason or another – obviously, I know he's caught a lot of balls here the last two weeks – he's gotten open, he's done a great job with that, his number has been called. Probably a combination of a lot of things. But I feel like we've got other guys that can do it, too. It's just a matter of what the defense is going to give us.

"I'm going to throw it to the open guy. Move the chains, score points."

That'll be the offensive objective Sunday. And Thomas will be ready for the challenge against the Falcons (1-1), knowing the importance of the Saints (1-1) having an effective passing game against a good Falcons secondary.

"That kind of gets you more excited for the matchup, because you know what you're up against," he said. "You know you have to be ready when your number is called. You know you've got to have that demeanor to you when you get off the bus when you're going on the road to face an opponent in the division that knows a lot about each other."

Atlanta, for sure, knows about Thomas. He won't have to say anything in the form of an introduction.

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