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Jets P Thomas Morstead: 'This Is Where I Wanted to Be'

Veteran Punter Was Pro Bowl Alternate in 2023 Season


Jets P Thomas Morstead, who had an expiring contract, said at the end of last season that he'd love to return to the Green & White, but the NFL is an unpredictable business. When general manager Joe Douglas gave him the opportunity to again put on a Jets jersey, Morstead didn't hesitate.

"This is where I wanted to be," he said. "Obviously the decision was to come back here and I'm really excited about that. Grateful that the team sees the value that I bring on and off the field."

Aside from being one of the team leaders on special teams, Morstead was one of the NFL's best punters last season in his 15th year and was named a Pro Bowl alternate. He was also the most active as he led the league with 99 punts and 4,381 punt yards.

"I punted a lot more than any of us would like to have happened," he said. "It'll be a different season. Comparing any year to a previous year, I try not to do that. I just try to just try to win the play whenever they tell me to go out there. Do I expect to have the same production? Hopefully I'm more efficient and more productive with whatever opportunities I get."

Morstead, who changed his jersey number from 5 to 6 when he re-signed with the Green & White in March, was pinpoint throughout the 2023 season. He led the NFL in punts downed inside the 10-yard line (17) and 5-yard line (7). His 36 punts inside the 20-yard line were the second-most in the league. He also set the team record for highest gross (48.8) and net (41.8) average.

His best game was in Week 8 against the Giants, a 13-10 OT win, when he placed three boots inside the 5-yard line and was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

See some of the best behind the scenes images from the Jets 2024 Multimedia Day.

Special teams typically haves more turnover compared to the offense and defense year after year. While there are mainstays returning to the punt unit like LS Thomas Hennessey, S Ashtyn Davis and LB Jamien Sherwood, gunner, captain and Pro Bowler Justin Hardee signed with the Browns this offseason.

"Hopefully we have a bunch of young, hungry guys that understand that there's a big void, which means it's a big opportunity," Morstead said. "Sometimes when you have a guy, other guys don't get opportunities because you have a dude that's just really good. Now, there's going to be opportunity for many and hopefully we have some guys step into that and are excited about it."

Some players who could be in the mix for the starting gunner jobs include CB Brandin Echols and WR Irvin Charles, who head coach Robert Saleh described as a wolf on special teams. Morstead has experience punting with them as the team's gunners last season.

While the new kickoff rules won't have a direct impact on Morstead's punting, he's interested in how teams will approach returning kicks this season.

"I have my own thoughts on a bunch of specifics and ways you can gain an edge and what strategies may be best," he said. "Week 1 of the NFL season is going to be really interesting and I'm kind of glad we get to play Monday night the first game because we'll get to see the whole Sunday slew of games to see what teams actually do. Like how they tried to get the edge, the advantage, what worked and what didn't."

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