— Thomas Morstead (@thomasmorstead) December 30, 2021
There aren’t many former New Orleans Saints players still so beloved by fans as punter Thomas Morstead, even after he went turncoat and signed with the team’s biggest rival. But there’s good news: the more often Morstead goes out to punt, the fewer points Atlanta is putting on the board. So it’s still easy to root for him in his new role — just not any of his teammates.
And Morstead has been outstanding. He was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for December, having dropped 6 of his 11 punts inside the opposing 20-yard line while averaging 49 yards per try. He’s bounced back in a big way from his final season in black and gold, between his two stops with Atlanta and, earlier, the New York Jets. Good for him.
But his successor in New Orleans has been terrific, too. Blake Gillikin put his rookie year (effectively a redshirt season on injured reserve, studying up on what’s made Morstead so successful for so long) to good use, winning recognition as the NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for October. For context, Gillikin put 10 of his 17 punts inside the opponents’ red zone that month. There’s no buyer’s remorse here despite Morstead’s continued high level of play.
So don’t be too hard on Morstead while he’s punting for the dirty birds. Remember, they don’t want him out there too often — so it ultimately benefits the Saints when he’s putting in a hard day’s work, even if he’s doing it well. Let’s hope every Falcons drive ends with a Morstead punt in Week 18’s regular season finale against New Orleans.