NEW ORLEANS -- For a long time this summer, New Orleans Saints receiver Joe Morgan talked about taking "baby steps" in his recovery from a 2013 knee injury. He didn’t even begin practicing until training camp.
Lately, however, Morgan has been in a dead sprint.
No Saints receiver has stood out more during the past three games than Morgan, who caught another four passes for 33 yards in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Baltimore Ravens.
He appears to have gone from the roster bubble to possibly even starting in Week 1 if Kenny Stills is still nursing a quad injury.
Morgan didn’t want to get ahead of himself, saying only that he thinks he’s done enough to prove he belongs on a roster somewhere in the NFL, whether in New Orleans or elsewhere since the decision is out of his hands.
But he did admit that these past few weeks have felt great following a long rehab process. Morgan has never specified all the details of his knee injury, but he said it was more than just an ACL tear and required two surgeries.
"Honestly, I’m excited, I’m confident. I mean, it’s been a long year. It’s been really trying. I’ve been through a lot," Morgan said. "So to be able to come out and even do a little bit has been truly a blessing."
Morgan’s best catch Thursday came on a 16-yard crossing route during the opening touchdown drive. And in some ways, it was even better than one of his classic deep catches.
Morgan said he has worked hard to prove that he can be used on short and intermediate routes in addition to just using his speed to run deep (which became his signature while catching 10 passes for 379 yards two years ago).
Morgan is also a standout blocker, which is why coach Sean Payton stressed recently that the Saints don’t consider him a "one-trick pony."
"I think they were just trying to mess up my average a little bit," Morgan joked of his short and intermediate catches Thursday. "But to be serious, it is important. That's one thing I’ve been harping on since I’ve been here. ... That just shows I’m capable of running the entire route tree."