While the move ostensibly makes sense just as extra insurance in case COVID-19 impacts New Orleans’ kicking situation with too little time to find an outside replacement, it’s possible it’s a bit deeper than that. Saints kicker Will Lutz was shaky down the stretch, going just 5/9 on field goals in his final seven games while also missing an extra point. Then in Sunday’s wild card win over the Bears, he missed a 50-yarder.
Head coach Sean Payton expressed confidence in Lutz after the game, but it’s fair to wonder why if it was entirely about COVID, the Saints didn’t make this move before the playoffs. Whatever the case, Walsh hasn’t attempted a meaningful kick since the 2017 season with the Seahawks. He was with the Falcons briefly during 2019 training camp, but that’s it.
The last time Walsh kicked in the postseason, he infamously shanked a 27-yarder at the end of a game that would’ve given the Vikings a win over the Seahawks. Walsh started his career in Minnesota in 2012, and made the Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro as a rookie. After that playoff disaster his career quickly went downhill, and he was released midway through the following 2016 season. He was Seattle’s kicker for all of 2017, but wasn’t re-signed.
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