There's no shortage of question marks surrounding the New England Patriots as voluntary OTAs begin this week in Foxboro.
Even coaching staff concerns.
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One of the few set-in-stone, fuhgeddaboudit positions is kicker, where veteran Nick Folk seemingly gives New England both consistency and peace of mind. How solid has Folk been for the Patriots? Inside 50 yards he hasn't missed since September 2020, connecting on a mind-boggling 55 consecutive field goals.
Originally a sixth-round draft of the Dallas Cowboys who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie in 2007, Folk bounced around before landing in New England in 2019. Last season he entered training camp as the favorite, but was ultimately beaten off the the final 53-man roster by undrafted free agent Quinn Nordin. But when the rookie suffered an abdominal injury, Folk returned and never relinquished the job.
The 37-year-old finished the 2021 season tied for first in the NFL in points scored, second in field goals made and sixth in field-goal percentage (92.3 percent). He made 36 of 39 field goals, with a long of 53 yards. Despite kicking in the oft-harsh Massachusetts weather, Folk has made 90.5 percent of his 84 field goal attempts. In fact, only three kickers [with a minimum of 70 attempts] in the NFL have a better overall field goal percentage.
Folk's only cringe-worthy miss came in Tom Brady's return to Foxboro when his potential game-winner high the upright from 56 yards.
“I guess in my own sick mind, I do,” Folk responded when asked if he enjoyed kicking in New England weather. “It’s kinda fun. There’s always something new. I think at times in a dome you can get lulled to sleep a little bit and you can lose a little of focus, where when you’re outside in the elements you’re really having to focus for the entire three-plus hour period. And I kinda like that. In my own weird way, I enjoy being outside and having that little bit of extra element that has to be thought about.”
While some speculated that the Pats may have considered handing the reins to the younger, cheaper Nordin, the nature of Folk’s new contract all but solidifies that the Patriots are committed to him for the next two seasons.
The Patriots signed Folk to a two-year, $5 million contract earlier this offseason.