According to New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton, it wasn't anything that kicker Kai Forbath did wrong that cost Forbath a spot on the team's 53-man roster entering Sunday's season opener at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Rather, it was all the things that Georgia State rookie Wil Lutz did right in a workout Monday.
Lutz was with the Baltimore Ravens in training camp. Forbath, who initially beat out Connor Barth for the roster spot, was New Orleans' leading scorer last season with 60 points. Forbath converted nine of 13 field goal attempts last year, including 2-for-3 on attempts of 50-plus yards, and 33 of 34 point-after attempts.
"His workout was outstanding," Payton said of Lutz. "The thing that I told Kai, our plan after (Forbath and Barth) had kind of competed all during training camp, was to pick a kicker and go with it. And we thought Kai had done a great job. We certainly weren't looking to replace that kicker.
"We knew Baltimore had a pretty good, young, talented player. I'd heard that, (and Ravens) Coach (John) Harbaugh and a few of their staff members had talked about this young player that they had as a rookie. So we brought him in for a workout and it's probably the best kicking workout that I've ever seen.
"I just thought the velocity, the accuracy – we weren't bringing in a kicker, on that workout day, looking to replace a guy that we felt real comfortable with. It's pretty common for us to have guys come in here at the beginning of the season and work out.
"The way it came off his foot, his leg strength, every element to it – and when it was over with, we saw 'X' number of field goals, 'X' number of kickoffs deep, kickoffs short, I looked at (Saints director of pro scouting) Terry (Fontenot) and everyone else who was at the workout. I said, 'Have we seen anything like that?' It was real impressive. It was a little bit of, I would say, an unplanned surprise, in a good way."
Lutz made two of his three field goal attempts for the Ravens in the preseason. In four seasons at Georgia State, Lutz made 31 of 46 field goals, with eight misses from 48 yards or longer. As a senior, he was 12 of 19.
EVANS UPDATE: The Saints also visited with guard Jahri Evans, who was released this offseason after 10 seasons with the franchise, among other players that were worked out this week. "I think it is a realistic possibility (that Evans could rejoin the team)," Payton said. "We're making sure we look at each available option for us. It's pretty normal when you get to your final roster cuts that you're still shuffling here in the first couple of weeks, maybe not because of injury. We had a good visit. We'll kind of see where that goes.
"His preseason with Seattle was, we thought, pretty good. He's in good shape, he's big, he knows our system. Those would be some of the traits that draw us to the potential of bringing him in."