New Orleans Saints Special Teams (3):
- Will Lutz, K
- Blake Gillikin, P
- Zach Wood, LS
For the first time since 2009, the Saints will enter the NFL regular season with a punter not named Thomas Morstead. A former Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro selection, who was a member of the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV-winning team as a rookie, fan-favorite Morstead was released in early March after 12 seasons in New Orleans.
While the unusual presence of then-rookie Blake Gillikin alongside Morstead on the Saints’ initial 53-man roster in 2020 could have provided insight into the team’s succession plan at the position, the second-year punter from Penn State will not be without competition at the Saints’ upcoming training camp.
Former Syracuse punter Nolan Cooney signed with the team after this year’s draft and will compete with Gillikin in training camp as part of a good old-fashioned punter battle to see who will emerge as Morstead’s replacement.
Kicker Wil Lutz started his time as a Saint strong in 2016 and emerged as one of the league’s best, hitting over 90% of his attempted field goals over the course of the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Following the 2019 season, in which he was selected to the Pro Bowl, the expectation was that more of the same was on the way.
However, Lutz would experience some turbulence toward the middle of the 2020 season, culminating in a stretch between Weeks 14 and 16 during which he missed four of six attempted field goals, including three consecutive misses.
Though he would go on to a career-low of 82% in field goal percentage, the way that Lutz finished the 2020 season should inspire hope that he can return to his pre-2020 ways.
How does this defensive and special teams roster look to you, Saints fans?