After struggling with special teams play for most of the season, the Saints are expected to hire another coach to aid its ST unit, Jay Glazer of FOX Sports reported this morning (link via Larry Holder of NOLA.com). Glazer did not name a specific coach that New Orleans — which already employs two special teams coaches in Greg McMahon (coordinator) and Stan Kwan (assistant) — will add.
Heading into Week 11, the Saints ranked 24th in special teams DVOA, according to Football Outsiders, and had made a number of high-profile mistakes in recent weeks. On the season, New Orleans has allowed three field goals to be blocked (two of which were returned for touchdowns), and rate poorly in nearly every aspect of special teams play outside of Thomas Morstead‘s punts. Kicker Wil Lutz ranks 28th in average kickoff distance, while the Saints as a team are averaging only 16.3 yards per kick return, 31st in the NFL.
As Holder notes, the Saints have given several players a chance to return kicks and/or punts, but haven’t been able to find a reliable returner as of yet. So far this year, Travaris Cadet, Marcus Murphy, Tim Hightower, and Tommylee Lewis have handled at least one kickoff, while Lewis, Murphy, Jairus Byrd, Brandin Cooks, and De’Vante Harris have all been given a chance on punt return duty.