Friday, February 19, 2010

Welcome to The Onside Kick

This marks the first post under my Saints exclusive blog titled in honor of the 164th overall pick in the 2009 draft.

Though he was a rookie this past season, it would take one of hell of an imagination to think of a bigger future play for punter Tommy Morstead to execute than AMBUSH, the code-name Saints head coach Sean Payton assigned to his plan to on-side kick in the Super Bowl.

Hopefully, Morstead will have as lengthy of a career as Jeff Feagles and that the SMU product will spend the lion’s share of his time in the NFL with the team that drafted him.

Ironically enough, one of the heroes of Super Bowl XLIV was an unwanted acquisition by many Saints fans who thought it foolish for the team to not only use a 5th round draft pick to grab a player considered the second-best punter in the draft but to also cough up a seventh round pick in 2009 and a fifth round pick in 2010 to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Call the Morstead pick-up Loomis’s Folly in the same vein that the purchase of Alaska was called Seward’s Folly.

Unfortunately, most football fans forget the first-part of the sport they love so dearly.

Perhaps it’s easy for someone of my mindset to appreciate early on the selection of a punter; after all, my favorite Saints player while growing up was the Great Dane, Morten Andersen- the kicker who lifted the Saints to a number of wins and is the NFL’s all-time leading scorer.

Kickers tend to not receive much respect from their peers and sportswriters as the greatest punter of all time Ray Guy is still waiting for his invitation to Canton. However, number Seven should be a first ballot inductee in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in five years, joining fellow Saints standouts linebacker Rickey Jackson and likely future inductee tackle Willie Roaf. But I digress.

Considering the Saints only had four draft picks due to previous trades and that two of the players selected ended up on injured reserve before the start of the regular season, the team received immediate dividends from Morstead and to a lesser degree from their first round pick safety Malcolm Jenkins, who struggled establishing his presence due to injury, rookie errors and a depth in the secondary- who’d a thunk it?

A few weeks into the season, I had the opportunity to briefly meet number Six at an autograph signing where I stated my appreciation for his early contributions to the team.

As they were the most glaring weaknesses for the team since 2007, who’d have thought that the two areas that would make substantial contributions towards the Saints first ever Super Bowl season would be the secondary and the kicking game?

And so, without further ado, I hereby christen my Saints football blog in honor of one of the gutsiest plays in Super Bowl history and the once unwanted draftee who flawlessly pulled it off.

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