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Pierre Thomas expects to do “more pass protection and route running”

Drew Brees, Pierre Thomas AP

The Saints traded Darren Sproles to the Eagles this offseason and saw Lance Moore sign with the Steelers after getting cut in a pair of moves that eliminated two players that caught 108 passes between them in 2013.

Running back Pierre Thomas expects at least a few of those passes to come his way this season. Thomas has seen Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson get increased work running the ball this season, leaving him with the feeling that he’ll be doing a lot of his work in the passing game.

“I know my role is going to change a whole lot this year,” Thomas said, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I’m going to do more pass protection and route running. I’m improving my route running game. I’m still going to be running the ball too. I’ve got a few changes here and there.”

Thomas was hardly a bystander in the passing offense last season as he caught 77 passes to set a career high, so it wouldn’t be too surprising to see him take on some of Sproles’ portfolio. But they also added rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks and given Ingram more work as a receiver this summer, so things may shake out differently than Thomas expects.

That may mean that he winds up doing more, however. Coach Sean Payton said that every year they go into a season with a plan for Thomas that then shifts because Thomas is “an exceptionally smart player” who knows the Saints offense very well after years in the system. That familiarity can be comforting to an offense and it could turn out to be a familiar role for Thomas as a result.

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12 Responses to “Pierre Thomas expects to do “more pass protection and route running””
  1. mionjacon says: Aug 21, 2014 10:23 AM

    Cooks will be the difference maker for the Saints this year. They had no deep threat last year and teams started picking up on it towards the end of the season. Meachem doesn’t have the speed he once had anymore.

  2. doubleogator says: Aug 21, 2014 10:29 AM

    Class act, solid football player…

  3. floratiotime says: Aug 21, 2014 10:36 AM

    Some sitting too. Probably a lot of that.

  4. Anthony Kennerson says: Aug 21, 2014 10:49 AM

    Ummm…..this is actually a silly article, given the following:

    1) The Saints released Lance Moore due to salary cap considerations, and upgraded their WR corps by drafting Brandin Cooks and returning Joesph Morgan from injury, to go along with regulars Marques Colston and Kenny Stills.

    2) PT was always a prolific and essential screen runner and pass protector; it may be that his role may be altered a bit and slightly reduced due to the emergence of Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson as the “featured” backs for the running game. But, fewer touches only means he’s fresher, and should KRob or Ingram by some chance get injured, he’s more than capable of carrying the additional load as a featured runner.

    In short, this is not really a newsflash or a breaking story to anyone who has followed Thomas or the Saints. He’s adjusted pretty well in the past to changing roles, and I see no reason why he won’t thrive this year.

  5. saintsallday says: Aug 21, 2014 10:51 AM

    Extremely reliable running back in the passing game and running the ball. Physical when hitting the running gap. Feel bad for him but a classy player.

  6. redandgoldhitman52 says: Aug 21, 2014 11:27 AM

    hey Thomas, Donte Whitner wants to know why you haven’t returned any of his calls.

  7. winningisabrees says: Aug 21, 2014 12:12 PM

    #12MENINTHEHUDDLE

  8. saintswin says: Aug 21, 2014 12:53 PM

    Niner fans you need to worry about your quaterback production and host of others problems your team has this year. Donte got away with a questionable hit but that was a few years ago, will see you in New Orleans.

  9. therealtrenches says: Aug 21, 2014 1:05 PM

    @Anthony Kennerson:

    The article contains no language suggesting that its author thinks this is a “news flash.” In fact, it points out that Thomas is used to taking on new responsibilities.

    It also pretty much covers all of the other important points you claim it doesn’t.

    I think this story is interesting next to the recent one about Ingram having more of a role in the passing game.

    I think Ingram’s claim that he can do more in that phase of the game is the wishful thinking of a guy in a contract year, but Thomas is the guy they’ll turn to on Sundays.

  10. sb44champs says: Aug 21, 2014 1:38 PM

    Whitner was head hunting on that play in the divisional round when Pierre got hurt… He didn’t get called for the illegal contact of course but that doesn’t change the FACT that it was an illegal hit.

  11. madddogg365 says: Aug 21, 2014 2:25 PM

    redandgoldhitman52 says:Aug 21, 2014 11:27 AM

    hey Thomas, Donte Whitner wants to know why you haven’t returned any of his calls.

    Didn’t the Saints beat the 49ers in THEIR own back yard last year? lol

  12. nowillrepeat says: Aug 21, 2014 3:21 PM

    All time Saints great

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