BOSTON (CBS) — If Bill Belichick doesn’t like your question, chances are you’ll get a pointed response made up of a few words but mostly some grunts and snorts.
Ask him about something he loves though, and you better hope you have at least 30 minutes to spare. Especially if the question is about an upcoming opponents special teams unit.
Belichick is always preaching the importance of all three phases of the game, and more than any other coach in the NFL, he makes it a point to praise everyone on an opposing roster. Especially opposing punters.
It was just last year that Belichick went on about Los Angeles Rams punter Johhny Hekker, though it’s hard to blame him for focusing on one of the few decent players on an otherwise abysmal team. But on Wednesday, ahead of New England’s Week 2 matchup with the Saints in New Orleans, Belichick made sure to sing the praises of punter/kickoff specialist Thomas Morstead.
“Morstead’s about as good of a punter as this league has ever seen,” Belichick said. “[He’s a] tremendous, tremendous player. Accurate, long, good plus-50, does everything well.”
Belichick was also asked about Morstead on his conference call with New Orleans media, and discussed the ways the Patriots practice for Morstead’s booming — and deadly accurate — leg.
“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,” he explained. “Not many guys that can punt the ball like him. Again, it’s not just his distance but it’s placement, accuracy.
“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,” said Belichick.
It wasn’t quite Hekker-level love from Bill on Wednesday, but it’s pretty clear he’s a fan of Morstead’s work.
Morstead has been kicking footballs for the Saints since they drafted him in the fifth round in 2009, earning a Pro Bowl nod in 2012. He had five touchbacks last season to go with 22 punts inside the 20-yard line, so it’s no wonder Belichick is such a fan of of his work.
While the Saints didn’t really show up in their Week 1 loss to the Vikings, Morstead’s catapult of a leg certainly did. He averaged 57 yards on his three punts, including a 68-yarder.