At the time of writing this the Patriots have three kickers, but that’s now. With Nick Folk hitting free agency, what is left if he leaves with all due respect, I don’t think can even be classed as slim pickings. Justin Rohwasser a one year in drafted rookie who we have no idea if he can even kick and Roberto Aguayo picked up from Los Angeles, who from the statistics provided on ESPN hasn’t played a season since 2016 which was with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The market for a reliable leg is kinda hot, but it’s also something that is almost taken for granted. Teams need a good kicker. I don’t need to tell you, games are regularly won and lost on that one guys leg! Yes you can argue that a good offence or defence would prevent the team getting to the stage where they need a good kick to win, it’s all connected, no doubt, but you can say that about all positions. Let’s give some kicker love here for the moment.
There are some players out there that are phenomenal. Whenever I watch the Kansas City Chiefs play I admit I rarely pay attention to the field goals or extra points, when you say Butker I automatically hear ‘and the kick is good’. I mean don’t get me wrong I’m not saying the guy doesn’t miss, I’m just saying that I take it for granted he’ll make it.
Justin Tucker of Baltimore and Jason Sanders of the Dolphins both had great seasons in 2020. And check it out folks, the trend…. teams with good and reliable kickers go far. And for the flip side? Just ask the Minnesota Vikings following the surprising downfall of Dan Bailey.
Sure teams with good anything and everything do well, that’s a given. But a lot can ride on that one single guy’s leg which is possibly why Coach Bill used a fifth round draft pick to obtain a kicker.
We’ll gloss over the fact that (as I mentioned earlier) we haven’t seen anything of him yet and there’s a chance he sucks…. that’s moot for the purposes of this part of my argument.
In an interview a while ago Coach Bill described availability as being most important in a player; I think we can stretch this to cover reliability too. A kicker can have a heck of a leg with distance but if he can’t be relied upon to stay calm, keep focused and his kick true he isn’t going to win you games.
Which is why we shouldn’t take these guys for granted, they aren’t a dime a dozen.
I’ll bet a lot of Patriots fans mourned the loss of Stephen Gostowski when he was released, he was with the team for fourteen seasons, a likable guy and he was reliable, until he wasn’t. According to statistics on ESPN in those fourteen seasons he gave Patriots on average 125 points per season. This guy was great…. and so were the Patriots.
Nick Folk took his share of flack from fans and sports media alike. He wasn’t new and shiny, at 36 he’s been around the league a while playing for Dallas, New York and Tampa Bay. But throughout his career he’s average 95 points per season. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
The fact that some games from the 2020 season, the one good thing we could take away, other than our fabulous punter Jake Bailey, was the reliability, consistency and point scoring of our kicker Nick Folk everybody! It can be argued that Folk had the best season of his career despite the fact that it was his 14th season in the NFL and he’s pushing the rip old age of 36…. and yes I say that very much tongue in cheek.
Now these are just my opinions, my musings, my observations, my perspective… but I think we perhaps don’t look upon a kicker most favourably, it’s just kicking…. but obviously it’s not. Not anyone can do it, because if anyone could everyone would be in the NFL and teams wouldn’t be losing because their guy can’t get the ball between the sticks.
To be fair, I’m pretty sure Coach Bill knows this, I revert back to the draft pick from last year and that’s good, it’s his job but as fans, as sports media, maybe we should count our blessings we nabbed Nick Folk with his reliability and over 90% success rate and just pray Coach stays smaht and keeps him!
–Clare L Cooper is a special contributor and columnist for full press coverage. Her New England Patriots insight can be found @FPC_Patriots and also her podcast ‘A Clare Perspective’ can be found on Apple podcastS, Spotify, Spreaker and most places On which you download your podcasts.