NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Sean Payton said what the head coach is supposed to say.
In regards to the loss of kicker Wil Lutz for about two months, Payton essentially said next man up.
“Every year,” said Payton. “It is always something.”
But, here’s reality. In the last four weeks, the Saints best defensive tackle, David Onyemata, announced he would miss the first six weeks of the season because of suspension.
Payton announced that wide receiver Michael Thomas would be out indefinitely because of a June surgery on the ankle he injured last September.
Kick returner/receiver Deonte Harris was arrested, allegedly for DUI, and faces possible league discipline. So, the hits just keep on coming.
A lot of NFL head coaches think kickers are a dime a dozen. And maybe the Saints find someone they can plug and play in Lutz’s spot. But, Lutz is a career 86 percent field goal kicker. And, here’s the number, I think, is hard to replace. He’s 13 of 23 from 50 yards and beyond.
When Lutz posted on social media that he was headed for surgery, I drifted back to September of 2019. That’s when Lutz kicked a 58 yard field goal at the horn to defeat the Houston Texans.
That guy, the guy, who can make that kick, you likely can’t find on the street.
The NFL is a bizarre business. In training camp and preseason, there’s a tendency to gloss over a team’s issues. But, once the regular season kicks off, what you can and cannot do as a team is quickly revealed. In an instant.
Let’s hope that the regular season opener against Green Bay doesn’t come down to a lengthy boot. If it does, Wil Lutz won’t be there to kick it, just another item for the Saints to overcome in a summer filled with setbacks.