Bill Belichick has been blessed with some of the best place-kickers ever to touch a football field in Adam Vinatieri and Stephen Gostkowski, who boast seven Pro Bowls and five First-Team All-Pros combined, as well as Matt Stover when the two were in Cleveland.
In his mind, Nick Folk is right up there with them.
The notoriously special teams-loving coach offered some special praise on Wednesday for his ultra-reliable kicker, who currently holds the NFL record for most consecutive field goals made under 50 yards. Aside from just Folk’s performance, which speaks for itself, Belichick revealed the trait he believes makes the 37-year-old kicker one of the best he’s ever seen.
“He’s really, out of all the kickers, probably the smartest — they’re all smart, but I mean really just professional, totally understanding everything about kicking,” he said. “Adam and Stephen were probably a little more talented, but just in terms of fundamentals, the execution, the consistency, Nick’s really good.”
Belichick made sure to point out Vinatieri, who was responsible for the famous snow-bowl kick and two last-second kicks to win Super Bowls in the Patriots’ first dynastic run, deserved to be a Hall-of-Famer when his candidacy officially comes up in another year before saying “all three of those guys could be.”
Folk unfortunately doesn’t have anywhere near the career numbers or hardware to earn himself a gold jacket in Canton one day like his predecessors might. But there’s no denying he’s been extremely good at his job since coming to New England, making more than 92 percent of his kicks the last two seasons and so far being on track to get near that mark again.
He’s been one of the best players on the Patriots teams since he’s arrived, and Belichick certainly hasn’t taken that for granted.