With all pro WR Michael Thomas missing the first few games of the season due to surgery, hopes of the Saints starting the season off strong are beginning to fade away. With the pending arrival of a new QB (either Jameis or Taysom), it would be beneficial to have some solid weapons out there for whoever Sean Payton decides to bring in to week one. This year is proving to be very similar to last year when Michael Thomas was out for nearly the entire season after an injury. But fret not Saints fans, this season will proceed just fine thanks to the one man wrecking crew looming in the backfield ready to bulldoze his way through any defense; Alvin Kamara.
Ending the 2020 season with 756 receiving yards and 932 yards rushing, Alvin Kamara has more than proven himself as a man who can not only dominate the ground game, but contribute to the aerial attack too. Whether it’s catching a juggled ball on the sidelines from Drew Brees (game vs. Chargers) or bursting through the wall of any defense, Kamara can do it all.
Depending on which QB lands the starting position, the Saints utilization of Kamara should remain the same if not increase. I envision him being heavily relied on if Jameis Winston ends up starting as he is a more traditional QB. But if Taysom Hill ends up starting full time, I expect the exact opposite. During the 4 game stretch of Hill’s tenure as a starting QB in New Orleans, Kamara’s numbers heavily dropped but not by any fault of his own. With Hill being one of the more athletic QB’s of the modern era, he uses his own legs to gain yards as opposed to relying on the running back in the backfield to get him to the first down marker/end zone.
Michael Thomas is set to return around week 4-5, which wouldn’t be an impossible task for Saints head coach Sean Payton to tackle. When Drew Brees went down last season, Payton still managed to go 3-1. During the 2019 season, he went 5-0 with his backup QB Teddy Bridgewater. These winning stats were achieved with a franchise QB out of action, so there should be no question as to whether or not the Saints can manage without Michael Thomas. Kamara’s versatility will carry New Orleans in key moments and crucial 3rd down situations. Again, assuming that Jameis Winston is starting, expect to see Kamara’s number called constantly throughout games.
With the rest of training camp and also the preseason to work out any kinks that he may have, expect AK-41 to be on his A game come September. Kamara is no stranger to carrying the load and this season will be no different. Also, with the recent signing of RB Devonta Freeman, Kamara’s duties as strictly a RB will decrease, allowing him more opportunities to catch the ball downfield.
It wouldn't be a true off season for the Saints without a level of uncertainty surrounding certain key players. For now, we wait to see what occurs as the season unfolds.