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The Lutz effect: How having Mr. Clutch will affect the Saints’ 2022 offense

Kicker shines in training camp after missing entirety of 2021 season.

Divisional Round - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v New Orleans Saints Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

At long last, Wil Lutz is healthy.

What initially appeared to be a manageable groin injury, actually kept the Georgia State alumnus sidelined for the entire 2021 season. In his absence, the New Orleans Saints tried to find the answer through multiple kickers, largely with Aldrick Rosas and Brett Maher.

After assuming the starting role late last season, Maher was able to finish the season with decent numbers, hitting nearly 90% of his attempts. However, the hole created by Lutz’s absence was evident throughout the season.

A Lutz-lacking Saints kicking room last year combined for 106 points. Lutz has averaged 136 points per year during his career.

In the five healthy seasons that Lutz has played for the Saints, he has averaged an 86.6 field goal percentage. That currently has him in seventh place amongst current NFL kickers for career percentage.

Few NFL kickers are more accurate inside of 40 yards than Wil Lutz. He has attempted a total of 81 kicks from this distance and only missed four of them (95%).

The nearly automatic leg from within 40 gives Pete Carmichael and the Saints’ offense a massive weapon. Having trust in an experienced kicker to nail anything from medium and short ranges makes game-winning drives far easier.

His accuracy from longer than 40 yards, though at times incredibly clutch, has been his only downside. He has hit 65 out of 83 of these kicks (78.3%). Not bad by any means, just certainly not his strongest quality.

However, Lutz has been shining in training camp. And from where exactly? Kicks longer than 40 yards. He recorded an astounding 49 out of 51 kicks at training camp this season. And managed to nail multiple deep kicks in the two preseason games so far.

This 59-yarder that he completed against Green Bay is now his new career longest.

Lutz also told reporters that he feels like this training camp “was the best he’s had in seven years.”

If Lutz continues to improve his deep-kick ability this season, the Saints could potentially have one of the best special teams units this season with punter Blake Gillikin and Lutz. The combination of stronger footed, accurate punter and an automatic, clutch kicker like Lutz could be Dennis Allen’s secret weapon in the quest to win his first NFC South title.

If this occurs, expect at least a few more drug tests for Clutch Lutz and Bombin’ Blake Gillikin.

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