Coordinator Curtis Johnson left the New Orleans Saints’ offense in the hands of quarterback Chase Daniel and wide receiver Michael Thomas after head coach Sean Payton benched Drew Brees for the second half of a Week 13 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Saints scored just six points after halftime as the Lions held a 10-3 lead. Daniel and Thomas took over as the Saints’ lead receivers.

The New Orleans Saints offense has been consistently one of the best in the NFL over the last few years. The Saints have been known for their high octane offense and the passing attack has been one of the best in the league. With many of the stars of the offense set to become free agents this offseason, the Saints will be looking for replacements.

The New Orleans Saints will be without their two star receivers for the next two weeks, but that doesn’t mean they are without a strong back-up plan. Pro Bowler Willie Snead and breakout star Michael Thomas will be sidelined for the next two weeks. This opens the door for the rest of the Saints to step up their game.. Read more about mike thomas saints and let us know what you think.

METAIRIE, Louisiana — Replacing Drew Brees has become much more tough.

After undergoing ankle surgery in June, New Orleans Saints receiver Michael Thomas is expected to miss the start of the 2021 season, which means whomever wins the quarterback duel between Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill will be without their ultimate comfort blanket.

To make things worse, during a salary-cap purge this summer, the Saints parted ways with veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders, as well as experienced tight ends Jared Cook and Josh Hill.

Here are some of the most pressing issues confronting coach Sean Payton and the New Orleans offense when training camp begins next week:

What’s the prognosis for Thomas?

Thomas’ recuperation timeline and the specifics of his operation are yet to be determined (or why he waited until June to have surgery). Thomas was scheduled to undergo surgery in January to repair a torn deltoid and other ligaments in the ankle that bothered him throughout last season, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Michael Thomas is expected to miss a few weeks of the season due to ankle surgery. Getty Images/Chris Graythen

The recovery of the deltoid, according to ESPN injury expert and physical therapist Stephania Bell, will likely be the most important factor in Thomas’ return to football activities.

“It becomes much more important to have a high ankle injury repaired if it involves the deltoid ligament, which is responsible for the inside side of the ankle’s stability,” Bell added. “It’s terrible that there was such a gap in time. But, in the end, if you want one of your greatest players to perform at the highest level, this is the best way to accomplish it.”

The most optimistic timetable, according to Bell, is three months, which would put Thomas back on the field in September. She did say, though, that it varies from player to player, depending on the specifics of each operation and each person’s rehabilitation. With Thomas’ long-term health in mind, the Saints would certainly want to make sure he doesn’t return too soon.

Will they bring in a free agent with experience?

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Even with Thomas in the fold, the Saints already had a hole in their receiving corps, so this seems like a necessity. Tre’Quan Smith, a fourth-year veteran, is expected to be the Saints’ No. 2 receiver, with youthful backups Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Juwan Johnson, and seventh-round draft pick Kawaan Baker vying for spots. However, none of these have been proved.

A experienced slot receiver, such as Golden Tate, Danny Amendola, or Dede Westbrook, would be ideal, and there are still some excellent ones available. In addition, the Saints now have more than $10 million in cap room after signing offensive lineman Ryan Ramczyk to a contract extension and renegotiating cornerback Marshon Lattimore’s contract.

The Saints, on the other hand, have clear needs at cornerback and defensive line. As a result, they aren’t operating with a limitless budget.

On the existing roster, who will step up?

Alvin Kamara, the Saints’ running back, is the obvious choice, having caught more than 80 receptions in each of his four seasons. But it’s difficult to see him stepping up any more than he did in his breakout 2020 season, when he racked up 1,688 yards from scrimmage and 21 touchdowns, both career highs.

Smith and second-year tight end Adam Trautman are the two players who should see significant increases in playing time and, as a consequence, create the greatest fantasy hype.

If Michael Thomas is injured, Tre’Quan Smith may play a bigger part in the offense. Butch Dill/AP Photo

Smith, 25, has shown his big-play potential over the course of his first three seasons, scoring 14 touchdowns in 40 games. But, despite setting career highs of 34 receptions and 448 yards last season, he has struggled with injuries and inconsistency. His position, on the other hand, is solid. Smith’s blocking skills and ability to adapt to play every receiving position has impressed his coaches.

Trautman, who caught just 15 receptions for 171 yards and one touchdown as a rookie, is in the same boat. The Saints appreciate his blocking abilities as much as his pass receiving ability, so the 2020 third-round pick could see a lot of action. Trautman (6-foot-5, 255 pounds) came on strong late last season, and the Saints were so pleased with his progress that they only acquired veteran blocking specialist Nick Vannett to replace Cook and Hill.

Trautman had a great senior season at Dayton, catching 70 passes for 916 yards and four touchdowns.

In deeper fantasy leagues, Callaway and Harris are two additional candidates to consider. As an undrafted rookie last year, Callaway (6-foot-2, 204) won a roster spot and came up big time with eight receptions for 75 yards in a game when both Thomas and Sanders were injured. After being so successful as a return specialist, the Saints have spoken for the last two years about getting the dynamic Harris (5-6, 170) more involved in their offense.

What impact will this have on Winston and Hill?

Obviously, this affects both quarterbacks a lot. During the previous two years, Thomas was just as much of a go-to man for Saints backups Hill and Teddy Bridgewater as he was for Brees when they stepped in as injured replacements. With Hill at quarterback, Thomas had two games with nine receptions and more than 100 receiving yards despite being hampered by an ankle ailment last year.

With an 80.9 percent catch rate over the last three years, the muscular 6-foot-3, 212-pounder tops all NFL receivers by four percentage points. That level of dependability is unrivaled.

Winston and Hill, on the other hand, might both offer something special to New Orleans’ offense. Hill could clearly depend heavily on his running abilities, and Winston, like Brees in his latter years with the Saints, could try to target teams far down the field with his huge arm.

The Saints’ offensive line, which is headed by All-Pro tackles Terron Armstead and Kyle Ramczyk, is one aspect of the offense that hasn’t been harmed. This is an underappreciated reason why the Saints should still be considered a playoff possibility.

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