Offense is done, defense is done (recapitulatory articles coming up soon!) so now it’s time for special teams! Let’s get started with the top-32 punters in 2013, who are judged on:
Kicking Power – 50 pts.
Punt Control – 50 pts.
Thomas Morstead, #21
Thomas Morstead (6’4”, 235 lbs, five seasons) excels at controlling the spin of his punts into deep territory, allowing him to frequently pin his opponents near their own end zones. He demonstrated that skill with 25 kicks inside the 20-yard line and just five touchbacks. He is more prone to shank punts off the side of his foot than most NFL punters, as evidenced by his 13 boots out of bounds.
Morstead doesn’t frequently hit punts to a monstrous distance—his long was just 61 yards—but he is consistent in striking the ball deep. Despite punting for a team that often sets him up with shorter fields, Morstead ranked eighth in the NFL with an average of 46.9 yards per punt. Like his distance, he doesn’t frequently record huge hang times but is consistently solid in that category.
He is able to take advantage of the favorable conditions of playing his home games inside a dome, but Morstead has the all-around game to be a successful punter for any team in the league.
One of the Who Dat Nation’s favorites, Morstead had a good year in 2013 but his game wasn’t particularly spectacular: I’m perfectly fine with that, as long as he booms kickoffs into the opponent’s end zone and forces returners inside their own 20-yard line, allowing our special teamers to stop them after a gain of just 7.5 yards (avg, 180 yards gained on 24 returns). One of the leaders of the team, he’s a great locker room guy and won’t leave New Orleans anytime soon.
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