Jets kicker Nick Folk is on the ropes

December, 2, 2010
12/02/10
7:46
PM ET
Nick Folk knew it was coming. Coach Rex Ryan warned his place-kicker that the Jets were bringing Kris Brown in for a tryout at his position. It wasn't a surprise, ever since Folk missed three kicks against Cleveland -- Folk knew he was on thin ice. He has already sent tapes to the kicking coach he has worked with for 12 years, Chris Sailer.

"We'll get it right for Monday," Folk said.

Folk has made six of 11 field goal attempts in his past three games, and has made 22 of 30 on the season. The Jets have won those past three games, but needed overtime to beat the Browns, and a last-second touchdown catch from Santonio Holmes to beat the Texans.
"Quite honestly, if Nick misses extra points, we're going to have to do something about it," Ryan said. "I have confidence in Nick Folk."

Folk has yet to miss an extra point attempt in 26 tries.

"I feel as a whole in practice, pregame, during the game that I'm hitting the ball pretty well, so I don't think it's a technical thing," Folk said.

The Jets worked out Brown on Tuesday, but did not sign him. Folk said it might be a way for the Jets to show him that they are ready to make a change, so he is again taking apart his technique and putting it back together. It's something he has done before in his career.

"Being a specialist, you never want to get too comfortable because two or three bad games and it's, 'Oh my god, what's wrong with the kicker or the punter?'" said punter Steve Weatherford. "He's just going to relax this week, have a great game and everyone will forget about the less-than-perfect games he's had the last two weeks."

Last year, Folk was cut by Dallas in the middle of the season. When the Jets and Jay Feely parted ways -- a move some fans disagreed with -- Folk was ready to step in.

Folk had some poor performances during OTAs, but worked his way out of it and was hot during training camp -- by the start of the season he was at his best, and the Jets were comfortable with him.

Then, shortly after missing the three field goals in Cleveland, the average length of Folk's kickoffs started to dip as well.

"Normally I can get out of a little funk when I'm kicking off well," Folk said. "I can crush a ball and take a little aggression out on it, and I wasn't kicking off well."

Both Folk and Ryan understand that Folk's field goal average of 73.3 percent is affected by some of the long-shot chances they have taken on field goals -- for example, a 61-yarder in Miami, and a 53-yarder in Houston

"I'll never turn down a kick," Folk said, "but I think the people making the decisions realize some of those kicks aren't necessarily my fault."

"The percentage might not be as good as some of these kickers in the league and that's because we've attempted a 61-yarder," Ryan said. "He's missed a couple of 50-plus yarders. Nick's an excellent kicker. I was concerned when he hit the upright on an extra point, and I was concerned that his kickoffs weren't as good as they've been. We're going to make sure we're aware of who's out there at all positions."

lt hasn't been a good week for Folk, and he understands the last thing a team wants is to start looking for replacements two-thirds of the way through a season. But he understands his tenuous position.

After all, he has been here before.
Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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