Newly re-signed Patriots kicker Nick Folk had some interesting comments regarding his standing with New England during his post-practice video conference with reporters on Thursday.
Despite the fact that Bill Belichick selected kicker Justin Rohrwasser in the fifth round of April’s draft, Folk re-signed with the Patriots on Aug. 24. Even though it came rather late in the process, it’s a move the veteran sounded like he thought would transpire eventually, seemingly on his terms.
“I trained the whole time like I was going to play. So I guess you could say yeah, I expected to play. So it just kind of - it ended up working out,” Folk said, noting that the NFL shutdown and coronavirus affected his offseason and free agency.
“I mean, back in March was the beginning of kind of the Corona pandemic. And we kind of didn't know what was going on. My wife and I, we have four young kids at home. So we were a little more worried on that front. And then we went to homeschooling. And so we kind of just put on hold and just kept in contact and it kind of made sense to come back this week. So, glad to be here. Glad to be back with the special teams crew and we'll kind of keep working and get ready for Miami.”
Folk saw action in seven games for the Patriots last fall, hitting 14 of 17 field goal attempts and all 12 of his PATs during the regular season. He also hit two field goals and a PAT in the Wild Card loss to the Titans.
While Rohrwasser entered camp without competition, the rookie did little to take the kicking job and run with it. By all accounts from the media in attendance for practices he had some shaky days kicking the ball and took notably limited reps at times.
As the rookie struggles to find his professional footing, Folk arrives with a proven history in Foxborough.
“It's always nice to come back into a place where you played. You understand it. You kind of get the flow. It's always nice to be in there and see to see the guys, see the familiar faces,” Folk said. “Obviously, working with Joe [Cardona> and Jake [Bailey> for the last eight, nine games last year was amazing. They're very professional. They do a great job, so it makes my job that much easier. And then seeing those guys in the special teams room all time and then the whole team. So having Cam [Achord, special teams coordinator> come back has been you know, it's been really good. And I've actually known [special teams assistant coach> Joe Houston for a long time. He kind of came up through the kicking ranks after me and I kind of helped him out when he was at USC and stuff like that. So, Joe and I have known each other a long time as well. So it's been really fun to be back these last couple days.”
Asked about competing with Rohrwasser, Folk noted that “competition brings out the best in everyone,” though he admitted that it can make for a somewhat unique relationship between two kickers.
“That's the hardest part with kicker, punter, snapper. There's only one of us on each team,” Folk said of the balance between giving advice and competing with a young challenger. “So it's hard to get the tricks of the trade out there. But you've got to kind of keep working, keep your head down, and when he asks those questions, you have to - I'm pretty honest all the time, it's just who I am as a person. So I'll help out where I can. But at the same time, I know I have to do my part to try to make the team.”