The core muscle strain that kept New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz out of the first handful of training camp practices worsened to the point where he has to have surgery to repair it.
Lutz announced it on social media Monday morning; he left Saturday's padded practice with a member of the training staff without attempting a kick in team drills during the workout.
"He started with a core muscle strain and then last week, it progressed some," Coach Sean Payton said Monday, Aug. 9. "And so rather than wait, we're going to have to go ahead and have that done right away. I don't have a time frame (when Lutz will return)."
New Orleans worked out some kickers after Monday's full-pads practice at the team's indoor facility. Payton said he anticipates keeping Lutz on the 90-man training camp roster, though the new kicker will be used in preseason games, beginning with Saturday's opener against Baltimore.
"We'll work a couple of guys out," Payton said. "We'll work more than that if we need to. We'll have a long-term plan and a short-term plan and I think relative to Wil's surgery, I don't think it's an extended process based on the history with that type of injury. But each one's a little different."
SNAP DECISIONS: Payton and his staff will huddle and come up with a plan for snaps in preseason games, as has annually been the case.
"We'll have a list of guys – what we do every year, this year will be no different – we'll have a meeting and we'll go through every player on the roster, how many snaps we want him to get," Payton said. "So it won't be the whole unit.
"There'll be some early out, there'll be some guys that we need more reps from. We're working in three segments right now, but we'll have that meeting middle of the week relative to this game. So I don't see that being any different."
That part isn't different, but this one is: The preseason schedule for NFL teams has been trimmed from four games to three, which changes the evaluation process.
"It removes snaps from a lot of the down-the-line players," Payton said. "When you're playing in that fourth game, you have a lot of guys competing for roster spots; that's going to have to happen in three weeks now, in three games, rather than four."
Last year, the Saints combated the issue of not having any preseason games by instituting more competitive periods during practice. That approach again will be used, though not to the same degree as in 2020.
"We're going to have 'X' number of opportunities that are scheduled out," Payton said. "Some days are going to be a little bit more physical relative to the practice than others. All of it gets factored in.
"You can't control the game lost, but we'll know, 'Hey, what is it we need to work on? What are the periods we need to work on?' And most importantly, who do we need to see more of."
The New Orleans Saints take the field for Day 10 of Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.
MORE OF THE SAME: For the second consecutive practice, the Saints worked on their red zone installation. But whereas the defense had the upper hand Saturday, the offense rose to the forefront Monday. Particularly, quarterback Jameis Winston and the No. 1 unit were efficient.
"I thought overall it was a pretty good practice" Payton said. "The second time through it, there were less mental errors. I thought you saw a little bit more offensive execution than we did the first day. And I thought we played with a little bit better speed."
ROLL CALL: Among the players missing from Monday's practice were left guard Andrus Peat, defensive back KeiVarae Russell, defensive back P.J. Williams and receiver Tre'Quan Smith. Cornerback Grant Haley, who had been relegated to conditioning drills the past couple of workouts, participated in the full practice.
BITS AND PIECES: Cornerback Bryce Thompson had a diving interception off Taysom Hill, and defensive back Deuce Wallace had a pick off Ian Book, though Book had a touchdown pass and an otherwise solid day…During a special team drill where two blockers were to stay in front of the gunner, Wallace, a blocker, finished off the drill by shoving down receiver Lil'Jordan Humphrey, a gunner. The shove was impressive, but probably a little more rambunctious than the unsuspecting Humphrey was expecting, since the Saints haven't had any live tackling drills.