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Transcript: New Orleans Saints running backs coach Joel Thomas training camp interview - Thursday, Aug. 20

Thomas spoke with media about the evolution of Alvin Kamara

New Orleans Saints Running Backs Coach Joel Thomas
Training Camp Video Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, August 20, 2020

In what areas has Alvin Kamara continued to evolve
"He's improved in the run game to anticipate some of these reads. This is over the course of time in year four that you can put on things in his rookie year and that natural instinct we're continually trying to develop that in the run game. In the passing game, his connection with Drew (Brees), how can we expand that, whether it's moving him around or creating different mismatches. But it's moreso continuing to build and get better, just the little things he's done in the past."

Discuss the element of building chemistry with the offensive line to build up the run game?
"I think anytime you have anybody new with the offensive line, quarterback with Jameis (Winston) now, learning cadence, filling technique maybe by a guard that (changes), maybe with going from Jahri (Evans) to Larry (Warford), then you have Nick (Easton) going in there when we had injuries last year. So there's always a little newness to our schemes, but our schemes are our schemes, but everybody's getting on the same page. It just goes hand in hand with all positions across the board."

Last year Alvin Kamara only had two catches that went for 20 or more yards, that was a big part of his game the last couple years. Do you just chalk that up to his knee injury last year or can you find other ways to get him the ball to create those bigger gains?
"I think obviously we're always searching for new ways to create those opportunities which we were deep into this offseason and right now. You guys said at the beginning when you asked me, his 75 is still better than other guys' 100 percent. We just have to make sure we continue to keep him healthy, us as coaches with the addition of Emmanuel Sanders, the way Jared (Cook) came on in the end, now we're creating some more matchups to where we have him singled up on maybe the lesser athlete and we can exploit those in space."

What do you guys think about Ty Montgomery and how do his abilities open things up for some of the things that he can do?
"I think right now we're in the early phases, but what Ty's shown is an ability to pick up our offense and function, that's the first deal. As a runner I see him as this piece of putty that hasn't had a lot of experience even though he's listed as a running back. He's been moved around from room to room as a running back, wide receiver, maybe a scatback. In the early parts of practice now he's shown some ability to be a runner, as far as running some inside zone schemes. It's encouraging now as we're starting to dabble in third down and get into the two minute stuff here in the next couple days, that's what we'll hopefully see his role expand a little bit more. I don't know if it's 'gadget player', I think he can do all three things, he can run, he can catch, he can pass protect. You can see the versatility that he has that might create a mismatch problem when he gets out on the field. He wears 88, he might be recognized as a receiver at the time. We'll see how it unfolds."

Coaching staffs here have player visions, is that vision starting to form?
"You don't want to pigeonhole a guy this early in camp and say this is what he is. I think right now I go to practice and look at all scenarios. I look for things to unfold a little bit, I'm personally comfortable with him as a runner, his skillset from watching film in the past as a pass catcher, but I think at this time, he is a running back that can do all three phases in our concepts. He's just not a one-trick pony."

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