[dropcap2 variation="slategrey" textColor="#000000"]L[/dropcap2]ook: Everyone intuitively knows Pierre Thomas is awesome. Most Saints fans know this consciously. That doesn’t mean Pierre Thomas gets enough love, though. And it doesn’t mean most fans fully understand exactly what the man after whom Frenchmen Street should be named is accomplishing, even as they watch him accomplish it.
Did you realize Pierre Thomas is having the most statistically productive year of his career?
Did you know that, with five games remaining, he’s already set a new career high for receptions in a season, at 56, beating his old personal best of 50 in 2011?
Have you noticed that he’s sort of carried the Saints’ rushing offense? He’s got 486 yards now, with a decent chance to beat his old best of 793 yards from 2009.
The whole “on pace for” thing is silly sometimes, but Pierre Thomas is on pace for about 1300 yards of offense. That’ll be a career high. It’ll be one of the better seasons for a back in Saints history.
But you can’t appreciate Pierre Thomas with numbers, from afar. You have to see him for yourself.
Pierre Thomas is a special player because he can do everything. Often, that compliment is a backhanded one — the whole jack of all trades, master of none cliche — but in Pierre’s case it’s the literal truth.
Watch him lay a stiffarm into Falcons defensive back Desmond Trufant that would make a 1990s power back proud:
This specialized skill is part of an arsenal of moves that make everything Pierre does in the Saints’ offense better than it should be. Basically, he generates more value from every touch than that touch should otherwise be worth.
The Pierre Screen
Check out another example of that maximizing-the-touch ability here, with a classic Pierre Screen:
There’s really no reason this play should have been a first down. The Falcons have it covered relatively well, as initially-undiagnosed screen passes go. But, as usual, Pierre somehow manages to pick up more yards than it seems he should, and the result is a new set of downs.
Here, again: Pierre is hit by Falcons safety William Moore near the first down marker, which is at the Falcons’ 26 yard line. Even though Moore never actually loses contact with Pierre’s body, even though Pierre is in the process of being tackled the entire time, he doesn’t actually fall down until he’s well inside the Falcons’ 20.
During plays like this, normal running backs are stopped around the first down marker. There’s nothing wrong with that; the result would still have been positive.
But Pierre Thomas is not a normal running back.
This play doesn’t really demonstrate a new skill. It’s just Pierre Thomas doing what Pierre Thomas does.
But I had to include it. Because Pierre Thomas is awesome.