Sometimes, the idea of something new and exciting can often make us forget the good, reliable, thing that we have already. This happens with cars all the time, but it also happens with football players.
A new player comes in as a rookie, and there’s so much excitement and potential that sometimes we forget what we already have. That happened this season, and a wrong needs to be righted.
It’s time to apologize to Nick Folk.
The New England Patriots signed Quinn Nordin as a rookie free agent from Michigan, and his leg was so powerful that we all got caught up in the moment. He was hitting halfway up the net from 60 yards away, and we were pretty excited about that cannon of a leg.
We were so excited that we forgot that Nick Folk went 26-for-28 last year, 11-for-12 from 40-49 yards out, and 2-for-3 from 50-plus. He was one of the most consistent kickers in the league, and we were ready to throw him away for a new, shiny, rookie.
Boy, were we wrong.
All Folk has done this season is go 14-for-15, and his one miss was by inches on what would have been arguably the best regular season kick in Patriots history. Folk hasn’t just been good, he’s been great, and with the offense currently struggling to get the ball into the end zone, they have needed him to be.
Just last week against the Houston Texans, the Patriots were down 22-9 before coming back and scoring on four straight possessions. The first of those scoring drives was a three-and-out after Cameron Johnston punted the ball into his own player on a bizarre play. Folk came out and buried a 52-yard field goal after the Patriots only managed 3 yards despite the great field position.
He would add two more field goals, one on the next drive, and one on the final drive to win it. There is no way around it: New England simply does not win the game without Folk. He is the most consistent offensive scorer that the Patriots have at the moment, and one of the most reliable players on the entire team right now.
And we thought that a rookie could just come in and replace him.
Now, you might be sitting there thinking: Why does he keep saying “we,” I never gave Folk’s job away this offseason? Well, I’m doing that because I certainly did. I was Team Nordin (now that we know the correct pronunciation, that really sounds good), but I am here to tell you that I was completely wrong. I just figured if I have to take the heat for being wrong, I was going to bring you all down with me.
Also, I don’t want this to come across as a shot at Nordin — it absolutely is not — and I am still on Team Nordin, but Nick Folk is my kicker, and, as far as I’m concerned, he will be until he decides to hang up his cleats… or at least until I get super excited about Nordin’s leg again in training camp next year.
Pat is a host of The Patriot Nation Podcast. Interact with him on Twitter @plane_pats.