You only get one first impression to make a good impression is a saying that has proved correct countless times over human history. The stark reality of that statement may invoke fear in a person feeling pressure to perform immediately. For rookie kicker Brian Johnson, his first impression he made on the New Orleans Saints was not a great one. Considering what the Saints were already dealing with in the kicking department this past year should have perfectly laid out the expectations for Johnson moving forward.
The Saints had lost Pro Bowl kicker Wil Lutz before the season even began to a sports hernia injury. They next signed Brett Maher who then was hurt in the preseason. The Saints then went with Cody Parkey and Aldrick Rosas who both struggled with accuracy and distance kicking. They were subsequently waived while Johnson was signed off the Bears practice squad. This was the rookie’s time to perform and show exactly what he was made of. Things didn’t go according to plan.
Not a bad NFL debut for Brian Johnson, hitting 1-1 PAT and 2-2 FG, solidifying our W— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 26, 2021
: vs. Buccaneers
: Sunday, October 31 (3:25pm CST)
: CAESARS SUPERDOME pic.twitter.com/QcGXez1kC8
Johnson, in four games with the team, did make all 8 of his field goal attempts but he missed 3 extra points during that span as well. That was not a characteristic Johnson is known for since at Virginia Tech he went a perfect 131 for 131 on extra points. Yes, the NFL extra point is a 33-yard attempt instead of a 21-yard attempt like in college, but missing 3 extra points in 4 games isn’t something that can be ignored. Especially since points were at a premium for the Saints who struggled mightily at times on offense. The Saints did not ignore it and subsequently cut Johnson on November 19th. The team elevated Brett Maher, who had returned from his preseason injury, to the active roster and he kicked for the team the rest of the year.
Johnson ended up returning to Chicago again and staying on their practice squad before Washington signed him and let him kick in 2 games at the end of the season. Whether he remains with the Commanders is up in the air at this point, but he needs to be mindful that he’s running out of first impressions.