No matter what people say, in recent years, it has been proven time and time again that the kicker position is crucial in the NFL. Prior to the star of the season, Cade York carried huge expectations after being a third-round draft pick. Unfortunately, he couldn’t perform as expected and the Cleveland Browns moved from him.
This season, the Dallas Cowboys found somebody they can rely on and who can make difficult kicks to give them leads or wins. Brandon Aubrey has become one of the best stories of this season for the inspired Cowboys, confirming that kickers do matter in the National Football League (NFL).
As soon as Sean Payton landed, many people wondered if he would try to reunite with his former players in Denver, which he did to some extent. One of the most notable is the kicker, Wil Lutz, who marveled for the veteran coach during his time at the Superdome. He already earned an honorable mention in the Broncos kicker history, even if his stay has been brief.
Lutz arrived in Denver via trade at the end of August, in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round pick. At 29, he still has a long career ahead of himself, but in the beginning, this move was met with skepticism from some fans. Still, he tried to pay off the confidence Payton placed on him.
“Coach [Payton], he tries to get the best out of everyone,” Lutz said back in August. “I truly feel like my best years were with him because I was kind of scared to let him down. And I think that’s how a leader is.”
The Broncos didn’t have the best start of the season in general, having a terrible 1-5 run that made everybody doubt they could be successful at one point this season. Just like Sean Payton predicted, they turned things around and are now in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Lutz has played a key role in that situation, helping his team whenever he can, making crucial kicks to confirm he’s still playing at a high level. The eight-year veteran has found another home in the league and the Broncos are trying to maximize his talent on the field.
“Like all kickers, they’re a little bit, sometimes, like golfers where they’re going to have a stretch maybe where it’s not hitting the fairway,” Payton said after Lutz made four field goals. “That being said, there’s talent. You see that. There’s leg talent, right? Then there’s the stuff between the ears that’s so important. There’s a confidence level, and from having experienced it before with him, I was proud to see—but he also hit it really well. That was a good game for him. It was a good game for our special teams… Overall, those were four big kicks.”
Even though the Super Bowl 50 champions lost their most recent game against the Detroit Lions, they remain hopeful to clinch a playoff berth and be an uncomfortable rival to whoever sees them in the postseason.
Wil Lutz Stats
The former George State kicker found a new home and that’s paying off for him and his team. In 14 matches this season, he’s attempted 29 field goals, making 27 of them (93.1%). Lutz is perfect from 20-29 yards (10-10), has only missed 1 field goal from 30-39 range (11-12), going perfect from 40-49 (3-3) and just missing one from 50-59 range (3-4).
He’s emulating his best season this year, almost reaching the 28-field-goal-made mark, which he did in 2018 when he kicked with 93.3% of accuracy. Lutz was still with the Saints at that moment, and now is making more noise with the Broncos.
The Denver Broncos have to be one of the most entertaining storylines of the 2024 NFL season. After a disappointing first season with Russell Wilson as their quarterback, the Broncos tried to make some changes to put Wilson and co. in the best position to compete this year.
It started with the Sean Payton trade that allowed them to restart after the Nathaniel Hackett experience. The former Super Bowl champion coach landed in Denver with high expectations, but it seems like the best is yet to come for this team.
They’re still trying to make it to the playoffs this season, and Lutz will be crucial for their aspirations. He’s not the flashiest kicker of all, not as famous as others like Justin Tucker, Harrison Butker, or Jake Elliott, but he does the job he’s asked to do with extreme efficiency.
The Broncos know they have a good one in Lutz and will try to maximize their chances with the 29-year-old kicker on the sidelines. Lutz will try to replicate the success of historical placekickers of the Broncos, like Gene Mingo and Jim Turner.
In the video below you can watch the best plays of Wil Lutz in NFL season 2022: