Saints: Wil Lutz could miss start of season

Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Wil Lutz, New Orleans Saints. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz could miss some games at the start of the 2021 season, according to several reporters.

Nick Underhill first heard the Saints were going to try out some new kickers, which Larry Holder of The Athletic confirmed, saying it could have to do with Lutz’s health. ESPN’s Mike Triplett followed up with this nugget of breaking news:

And finally, NFL’s Ian Rapoport shared a more quantifiable time frame regarding Lutz’s injury:

Definitely not good news to start of the day.

Wil Lutz joins wide receiver Michael Thomas on the list of players on the bench, but at least Lutz didn’t ghost his own franchise.

Lutz took the field at practice last week for the first time this training camp. He had sat out earlier due to a “soft tissue” groin injury that landed him on the injury list, but he was cleared on Wednesday. He also “cleared” all his kicks, too: he made six out of six attempts ranging from 35 to 45 yards out.

Lutz was one of the bright spots in training camp that day and remains an integral part of the franchise. Prior to Lutz’s arrival, three different kickers played for New Orleans between 2013 and 2016. That kind of turnover for kickers doesn’t usually bode well for teams’ postseason success.

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz may not recover in time for 2021 season

The Saints have put all their confidence in Lutz so far. When Lutz was recovering, the team didn’t even try out free agent kickers, likely because they believed Lutz’s injury would be short-term. This offseason, Saints also made it their priority to restructure Lutz’s contract despite Lutz posting some of his career-worst numbers on field goal tries last year.

With Lutz more definitively out for the start of the season, New Orleans are finally holding tryouts for new kickers. Previously, it would have been for insurance. Now, it’s a necessity.

In the meantime, second-year punter Blake Gilikin works as the holder on simulated field goal attempts, and the special teams unit will continue handpicking the best coverage players. Gilikin will battle with rookie Nolan Cooney to replace Thomas Morstead this season, and it looks like there’ll be a kicker battle in the making, too.

The Saints didn’t plan for Lutz to miss games, and they’ll just have to quickly troubleshoot this inconvenient snag in the offseason.

Next. 3 pleasant surprises from camp so far. dark

Every bit of good news this training camp has come with a helping of unexpected surprises. Best wishes for Lutz’s speedy recovery.