Wednesday, January 11, 2012
A showdown of punters?
By Pat Yasinskas
Most of the talk about Saturday’s playoff game between the Saints and 49ers has centered on New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees going against a San Francisco defense that ranked No. 4 in the NFL during the regular season.
But there’s another matchup of strength against strength. That’s the two punters in this game.
San Francisco’s Andy Lee and New Orleans’ Thomas Morstead have two of the strongest legs in the league.
Lee made the NFC Pro Bowl squad as he posted league highs with a 50.9-yard gross average and a 44-yard net average. Morstead might have had a shot at the Pro Bowl if Lee hadn’t had such a big season.
Morstead finished second to Lee with a 43.1-yard net average. Morstead didn’t have to punt a single time in the playoff victory against Detroit. But he knows things might be different this week.
“I can tell it has been a point of emphasis this week,” Morstead said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge. They rated out as the No.1 special teams unit in the NFL this year. I’m excited about that.”
Morstead also had some flattering words for Lee, but pointed out the Saints can make things happen in the return game.
“He’s a Shane Lechler-type,” Morstead said. “He’s just going to bang the ball as far as he can down the field. I hope he does that this week. We have a pretty good returner (Darren Sproles).”