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Saints Nation: The State of Saints’ Special Teams

Talking about special teams, there really is not much to say about the subject. The special teams unit for the Saints has been pretty good almost every year, covering the entire spectrum from field goals to punting. Last year however, the production dropped slightly. The special teams unit is supposed to set the tone of the game, or change the momentum in favor of their team. The Saints special teams didn't do either.

At times, it seemed like the Saints were nonexistent on kickoff  or punt coverage. Whether it be the Saints receiving the ball or whatever  team they were playing, the coverage seemed horrid. When the Saints would be punting it away, Thomas Morstead was money. There's nothing to say about this guy. He's an awesome punter that I would put in the category of the best in the league. Averaging 50 yards a punt on 74 punts, he only had 6 touchbacks and got 20 of them inside the 20-yard line. The number of punts is rather high for my liking though. The high number of punts translates to the Saints not being able to convert 3rd downs. When the Saints were getting the punt, Darren Sproles returned it 23 times, fair caught it 14 times, and only averaged about 8 yards/attempt. The 8 yards an attempt isn't such a black spot as the glaring 1 TD. I'm not sure if that's the blocking (rather lack thereof) or if it's the ineptness of the returner and not being able to go the distance, but something has to change somewhere.
 

The kickoff statistics weren't that much better, either. When I think of horrible kickoff coverage, I now refer to 1 game in particular. The Saints and Giants game. David Wilson ran all over the Saints coverage unit when he had the ball. He had one 97-yard touchdown on 4 returns, averaging 56 yards an attempt. When I was watching that game, I was thinking to myself "Nobody can tackle but Morstead." and that sentiment about that game still holds true today. The best special teamers the team has now are Garret Hartley, Courtney Roby and Thomas Morstead. Roby is a really good gunner and he's a pretty sure tackler. Morstead speaks for himself. Hartley is usually money when it comes to kicking field goals, but there's always that one boneheaded miss that makes me think of John Kasay and how he was so good for the team for that one year (31/34). Another good special team member was Johnathan Casillas, who has left for Tampa Bay. I'm not sure what it is about the special teams that hurt the Saints last season, but it has to change.

I hope to see a night-and-day change on the special teams unit in 2013. If that means getting rid of a lot of dead weight, so be it.  
 

What are your thoughts on the unit from 2012, and what do you want to see in 2013?

 

Andrew Juge

About Andrew Juge

I like the Saints. A lot.

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