Saints: What to expect from newly-signed kicker Brian Johnson

Brian Johnson #93 of the Virginia Tech (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images)
Brian Johnson #93 of the Virginia Tech (Photo by Ryan M. Kelly/Getty Images) /

Finding a kicker has been an excruciating challenge for the New Orlean Saints this season. With long-time starter Wil Lutz on injured reserve since the preseason, the team has cycled through three different kickers and just signed its fourth: an undrafted free agent, Brian Johnson.

The 3-2 Saints have needed kickers to show up for them in crunch situations during the first quarter of the season but have suffered from the inconsistency at that position.

They signed Brett Maher in August, but he was subsequently placed on IR and eventually cut before the month ended. Then, former Pro-Bowler Aldrick Rosas was brought in and opened the season as the team’s kicker. He made his first FGA in Week 1 — then he missed his next three and was cut.

Last week, New Orleans signed another former Pro-Bowler, Cody Parker. While he had no FGAs against Washington last week, Parker went 3-of-5 on extra point attempts — and got injured. The Saints placed him on IR just a week after his arrival.

In comes Johnson.

What should Saints fans expect from Brian Johnson?

While at Virginia Tech, Johnson was a sturdy but not great kicker. In four years with the program, he made 54 FGAs on 76.1 FG%. The appeal for the Saints is that Johnson set the Virginia Tech program record for most consecutive extra points made with 119. He never missed a PAT in his four-year career and in theory, should provide some assurance for the Saints especially after the Parkey mishaps last week.

The Saints go into Week 6 with a BYE, so that gives them an additional week to get the rookie acclimated with the team and up to game speed. He’ll have a lot of pressure on his shoulders to perform well in a spot where others have failed. His first test will be against the Seahawks in Week 7.

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Despite the Johnson signing, fans are hopeful that Lutz is ready to go by Week 7. He’s within the timetable of when he could return but nothing has been determined with his progress.