Adding Alex Okafor on Saints punt return unit has been ‘crucial’ to group’s success (1 Viewer)

(Photo by David Grunfeld, | The Times-Picayune)

By Josh Katzenstein, | The Times-Picayune

During New Orleans Saints training camp this summer, special teams coach Mike Westhoff approached defensive end Alex Okafor with an idea.

“I said, ‘I want to use you this year on our safe (punt return). It’d probably be two plays a game,’” Westhoff said, recounting the conversation. “He said, ‘OK.’

“All I said was, ‘I want you to rush the punter like you rush the quarterback.’”

Okafor was receptive to the idea, and since then, he has become a key factor on the Saints punt return unit.

Starting defensive ends don’t typically play on special teams aside from being on the field-goal block unit, but Westhoff thought Okafor’s pass rushing skills could help the Saints on their punt return unit. ...

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Andrus Whitewing

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