I’ve got a special treat for you guys today, mostly thanks to Marijn’s persistence to whom I owe this, and that’s a phone interview with Saints’ star punter Thomas Morstead. The phone interview was a little bit choppy at times but overall it’s tolerable. Sorry the audio didn’t come out perfect but you can also read my transcribed version of the interview below. Special thanks to Thomas for taking the time to do this, all of Saints Nation appreciates it greatly and hopefully the fans do too. Enjoy!
Please also visit Thomas’ website Punt Pink and enter the raffle for a chance at free tickets to the Giants game coming up and other great prizes. For more information on the raffle CLICK HERE, it’s not too late to enter and raffle tickets are only $2!
Or you can read the transcript below:
(on what he’s up to during the bye week)
Well I can’t speak for everybody else. I think different guys went on different trips, gone home and all that. I’m actually in New Orleans right now, actually just going in to work out! Haha. I’m headed to Houston this weekend, headed to the SMU versus University of Houston football game. College gameday is going to be there and my family is from Houston so that trip made sense for me.
(on SMU pulling off an upset against Houston)
Yeah, hoping for one! We’ve had a little bit of success maybe in times where we weren’t expected to this year. SMU already beat TCU on the road when they were ranked, so I’m just hoping for a good showing by the Mustangs.
(on if he was a Cowboys fan growing up)
I was not actually. I grew up an Oilers fan and when the Oilers left town I kind of became a Packers fan because Brett Favre was my favorite player growing up. Obviously that’s changed now. I kind of rooted for the Texans once we got the Texans in town.
(on his experience as a Saint now)
It’s been great. First off I love the city and people down here really appreciate football and what the Saints kind of bring to the city. Also I think the team appreciates how good our fans are. It’s kind of a pretty cool two way relationship there. As far as my experience, it’s been great. My rookie year I was spoiled – got to go the Super Bowl and won it. I’ve already had a pretty large amount of awesome experiences for this short in my NFL career. I’m hoping to have more in the future though.
(on the team’s place right now and his personal performance)
Well, I can tell you that this last week of preparation we had going into that game, knowing we had a bye week after, 7-3 feels a lot better than 6-4. Especially with a game and a half up on the Falcons instead of a half game back if we lost. So I think that was huge for us as a team, just being able to, you know, go home and like you said recharge your batteries. That was big for us to get that last win there. Individually I’ve been very very happy with what I’ve done this year. Obviously there’s always a ball or two you’d like to have back over the course of the season. I feel like my consistency has been better than it’s every been this year. Part of that just has to do with being healthy, which I was not last year. I’m hoping to continue playing well and help my team get some W’s.
(on how he’s improved this year)
Well another year of experience and being healthy, those are two things. I think something that I’ve been able to do this year, I’ve always been known even from college as the guy with the big leg that could just always hammer the ball down the field. I look at the guys that have been able to play in the league for 15-20 years and I’ve been around John Carney and John Kasay as kickers, and I’ve looked at the punters around the league. Why are they in the league for so long? Why are they so consistent? A lot of those guys have taken to direction punting and they’ve continued to do it at a high level. It’s really tough holding yourself accountable to that because, like you said, you’re not always going to have the best gross average. You’re not always going to be putting up Pro Bowl numbers. Sometimes you have to battle those selfish individual feelings. I told my coaches at the beginning of the year: I/we want to have the #1 net punt average because that is what’s best for the team. So far we’ve done a pretty dang good job of that. I think we’re in the top 5 or something like that, I’m not exactly sure. It feels great to just be helping the team win with field position. Hopefully we’ll continue to do that.
(on if Pro Bowl voting is unfair)
You know it’s tough. The Pro Bowl system is a little bit flawed. We play for a small market team so you always see teams that are in big markets like New York or Dallas or teams like that that have a lot of guys like that where maybe there team isn’t having a great year. So part of that is fan voting and we just don’t have a huge fan base, but our fan base is extreme and hard core and they love us. That kind of gives guys a chance but I’m not in the fantasy football deal as a punter, so people don’t follow me because of that and you kind of got to be a nationally recognized name to do well in fan voting. That’s part of the deal though. It’ll happen when it’s meant to happen for me and I don’t know if that’s this year or whenever but I certainly appreciate all the fans that go out and vote.
(on how Garrett Hartley is doing)
Yeah, sure, I see Garrett every day, he’s at all our meetings, so it’s business as usual. He’s just not practicing. He’s just continuing to rehab that injury but I think what’s good for him in the long term is when he was put on IR is he doesn’t need to hurry back and be ready “now”. There is no stress or pressure to get back to work now, so he can really get this injury taken care of and be ready to go for next year.
(on John Kasay)
Yeah he’s great. He is the epitome of consistency. I call him “the machine” haha. He is just awesome to watch practice, everything he does. I call him “John Carney the Second” as well cause those two guys have been huge for Garrett and me to learn from. You’re talking about 40 plus years of experience of doing something at the highest level. Those guys are great to be around, and John has been fairly clutch for us this year and made big kicks when we’ve needed him to make them.
(on Punt Pink)
Sure! It’s a website I started with Susan Coleman of New Orleans and Acadiana. All the proceeds go to those two chapters. It’s a raffle online, you just go to http://www.puntpink.com and you can purchase $2 raffle tickets. The winner will be drawn next Monday and the winner will receive two tickets to the Giants game next Sunday, a sideline pass to come down and take a picture with me before the game, and also my shoes and the ball we used in the breast cancer game against the Indianapolis Colts where I set the NFL record for touchbacks in a game with nine.