Bill Belichick spends minutes heaping 'tremendous' praise on another punter
Bill Belichick loves him some football. He’s a real football guy. So much so that he’s not afraid to talk about Johnny Hekker last season. Belichick was, as usual, ahead of the curve — and was ., as he did with Rams punter
And Wednesday, while speaking with the media to prepare for the Patriots‘ game against the Saints on Sunday, Belichick once again heaped huge praise on another punter. This time it was Saints punter Thomas Morstead, who Belichick called “tremendous” (the same adjective he used for Hekker).
“The kicking game, obviously, two big legs there – [Wil] Lutz, [Thomas] Morstead,” Belichick said. “Morstead’s about as good of a punter as this league has ever seen. [He’s a] tremendous, tremendous player. Accurate, long, good plus-50, does everything well.”
So Belichick volunteered that to the Pats media when talking about things the Saints do well. Unlike with Hekker last season, it wasn’t the primary thing he focused on (the Rams were terrible; Hekker was a big highlight).
But he got a chance to talk more about Morstead when the Saints reporters inquired specifically about the team’s punter. These guys knew that Belichick is willing to expound on a talented special teams ace.
“Everything,” Belichick said when asked what stands out about Morstead. “I mean, he’s got great leg strength, placement, technique. He’s a good situational punter, handles the rush well, good directional punter, good plus-50 punter, can change field position. I mean, he’s really good, really good.”
Belichick really likes punters. And why wouldn’t he? Punting has gotten a bad rap for a while, but it’s an important part of the game. You can flip the field with a good punter and it changes situational football. Belichick is a stickler for details and the nuances of the game. Him loving punting makes tons of sense.
Belichick also admitted to doing things entirely differently during practice while preparing to play against a punter like Morstead.
“Yeah, you take the jugs machine, crank it up on high and shoot the ball up 55 to 70 yards downfield a yard from the sideline, like he does most of the time,” Belichick said. “You know, not many guys that can punt the ball like him. Again, it’s not just his distance but it’s placement, accuracy. I mean, his plus-50 punts are like from the minus-40. He’s just different because of his strength and power and control.”
There is a reason why Belichick is considered the greatest football coach of all time. He doesn’t ignore certain aspects of the game and adjusts practices and preparation for the nuanced layers of any opponent. The Saints have Drew Brees running the offense and Belichick is still worried about the punter.