NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - For weeks we'd heard about 'the workout.' As in, the best kicker workout Sean Payton had ever witnessed.
It came from a rookie unknown named Wil Lutz. This workout was so strong that Payton made the perplexing move to cut Conner Barth and Kai Forbath, two well-respected veteran kickers, and handed the job over to Lutz, who had never kicked in an NFL game in his life.
The problem was as the Saints headed into the bye week 'the workout' was still the best thing about Lutz. His on-field performances were not.
It's not that he'd been terrible, just not good enough to warrant the high praise from his head coach. Against the Raiders, he missed two field goals, including the game winner from 61 yards. One of his successful attempts was blocked but very fortunately still made its way through the uprights. Against the Giants, his 38-yard attempt was blocked and returned for a touchdown.
Still, Payton never wavered in his support. He stuck by his guy, something Payton is not known to do when it comes kickers.
But at some point, he could only site the workout for so long. At some point, Lutz needed to prove Payton right.
On Sunday, he finally delivered.
Needing a 52-yarder to give the Saints their second win of the season, Lutz came through with the most clutch kick of his life.
"He's got the moxie," Payton said. "He's got all the things you look for in a great kicker."
Lutz is not a great kicker yet. He's only 7-of-11 on the season and even missed an earlier attempt on Sunday. But Payton has the full confidence that Lutz will become one eventually.
That confidence was officially validated Sunday.