The Saints‘ attempt to rebound from their first loss since Week 1 might be missing a key component.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas (ankle) did not participate in Wednesday’s practice, according to the official injury report.
An incredibly productive receiver for much of the season (91 catches, 1,120 yards, eight touchdowns), Thomas was limited to just nine catches for 78 yards in his last two games as teams have spent considerable resources to defend him. An ankle injury won’t help, though the Saints do have the breathing room necessary in the standings to give him time to recover fully.
The Saints have spent more time than usual attempting to address the receiver position, signing Dez Bryant before he was lost for the season due to an Achilles injury suffered in practice. They then added Brandon Marshall, while also receiving an unexpected contribution from rookie wideout Tre’Quan Smith. But Thomas has been the steady force of the group, making his potential absence significant.
Equally as important (and slightly more encouraging) is the status of left tackle Terron Armstead, who was a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice. Armstead has missed the last three games due to the injury.
With Armstead at left tackle, the Saints allowed a pressure on just 15.3 percent of Drew Brees‘ dropbacks (48 total pressures) from Weeks 1-10, per Next Gen Stats. That number has jumped slightly, to 22.9 percent of dropbacks (19 pressures) with Armstead sidelined in Weeks 11-13.