If everything else fails, rely on the Special Teams?

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GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18: Punter Thomas Morstead #6 and kicker Wil Lutz #3 of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after kicking a field goal in the first half of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 18: Punter Thomas Morstead #6 and kicker Wil Lutz #3 of the New Orleans Saints celebrate after kicking a field goal in the first half of the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 18, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Having a great Special Team’s unit can do wonders for any NFL team. Whether it be the punter, the kick/punt returner or even the kicker, having the right group is crucial for success. Below are some of the athletes I’ve chosen that accurately represent the Saints Special Teams in 2017.

Thomas Morstead – Punter

BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 13: Punter Thomas Morstead #6 of the New Orleans Saints kicks the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD – AUGUST 13: Punter Thomas Morstead #6 of the New Orleans Saints kicks the ball against the Baltimore Ravens during a preseason game at M&T Bank Stadium on August 13, 2015 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

You know him, you love him, let’s start off with punter Thomas Morstead.

Morstead, a 5th round selection in the 2009 NFL Draft, has been a dominant Special Teams force ever since he entered the league. He is most notably recognized for being a part of one of the gutsiest calls in Super Bowl history. For those who didn’t know, Thomas Morstead accurately pulled off an onside kick in Super Bowl 44 for the New Orleans Saints after halftime. The succeeded attempt gave New Orleans the eventual opportunity to dominate and claim Superbowl 44. The team’s first Super Bowl.

Thomas Morstead is best defined as what I like to call “Fine Wine”. Similar to fine, aged wine, Thomas Morstead, despite being in his thirties, is and will always be consistent for the New Orleans Saints. His accuracy in pinning opponents deep in their territory, and everything else he does so well proves great sentiment to the name, “Mr. Reliable” that Morstead, in my opinion, has most definitely earned.

Morstead’s stats last season included a total of 57 punts for 2,751 yards, average 48.3 gross yards per punt, including 22 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Having the ability to pin opponents deep on their side of the field on kickoffs is a lethal ability only the best kicking teams possess. Knowing the Saints have a phenomenal punter in Thomas Morstead is most definitely reassuring.

Wil Lutz – Kicker

Dec 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz (3) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 48-41. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 18, 2016; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz (3) against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Saints defeated the Cardinals 48-41. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Wil Lutz, an undrafted kicker out of Georgia State proved to be a reliable option for the Saints at times last season. Despite having trajectory issues at the start of the 2016 season, Lutz has improved since from the assistance of new Saints Special Teams coach Kevin O’Dea.

Lutz, who was formerly with the Baltimore Ravens before the Saints nabbed the kicker before the start of the 2016 season, looks to be an even more reliable, consistent factor for the Saints in 2017.  Lutz’s stats last season included 28 field goals made of an attempted 34, a completion percentage of 82.4%.

A reliable kicker means an infinite amount to any NFL team, especially to a Saints team that has had 11 kickers since Sean Payton joined the organization in 2006. Having a reliable, consistent kicker means not only points for your team every week, but somewhere to turn to if an offense stalls. Knowing the New Orleans Saints have a rising kicker who has fixed his only flaw is simply amazing.

Ted Ginn Jr. – Kick / Punt Return Specialist

CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 18: Ted Ginn #19 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC – SEPTEMBER 18: Ted Ginn #19 of the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Ted Ginn Jr., formerly with the Carolina Panthers, looks to bring his many skills to New Orleans including his ability to return punts and kicks. Ted Ginn’s veteran knowledge and experience are some of the many attributes he now contributes for the Saints. Not only does he contribute those abilities a veteran in the NFL would have but, Ted Ginn is also very, very fast. The common abbreviation TGIF used to describe “Thank Goodness It’s Friday” doesn’t mean those words in the Saints building. In regards to the New Orleans Saints, TGIF stands for Ted Ginn Is Fast.

Over the course of Ted Ginn’s Special Teams career, the WR has returned several, and I mean several punts and kicks. In regards to returning kicks, Ginn has returned 300 kicks for 6,842 yards, an average of 22.8 yards per return, and 3 touchdowns. In regards to returning punts, Ginn has returned 238 punts for 2,497 yards, an average of 10.5 yards per return, and 4 touchdowns.

It’s great for the New Orleans Saints now that the team has at least one reliable option to return kicks and punts. Having the ability to gain yards, and move the ball closer to the endzone before the offense comes on the field is phenomenal.

The New Orleans Saints have the potential in 2017 to be great.

The Special Teams is an important factor to the outcome of every game. So the unit itself shouldn’t be underestimated or taken for granted.  If everything goes smoothly, and with the help of an efficient Special Teams, expect the Saints to perform better and acquire more wins this season.

So What did you think of the Special Teams this season Saints fans?! How do you expect the New Orleans Saints Special Teams to perform next season?

Make sure to let myself and Who Dat Dish know what you thought if you have any comments regarding the article!

Make sure to check out the Who Dat Dish Podcast, starring hosts Dayton Brown and Tyler Raymond. The next episode airs Monday, 6/26 at around 6:00 PM EST.

Yes, for those Saints enthusiasts who didn’t know, Who Dat Dish now has an official podcast! Myself along with fellow WDD writer, Dayton Brown host a weekly podcast dedicated to everything New Orleans Saints. Stay tuned because the next episode is Monday, June 26th.

Make sure to follow the official Twitter account of the Who Dat Dish Podcast here so you never miss an episode or any announcements! Make sure to also give a follow to writers, and podcast hosts, Dayton Brown, and Tyler Raymond.

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