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Folk’s Feeling Good About a Career Restart

Posted by Randy Lange on April 8, 2010 – 11:38 am

Nick Folk was asked this morning about special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff. He responded by talking about Friday morning, which will be the biggest day to date in his Jets career.

"He’s been great so far. We’re going out tomorrow to kick a little bit," said Folk in front of his locker during the media availability period in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. "That’ll be my first kicking experience here except for my workout. It’ll be good."

It’ll also be Folk’s first Green & White outdoors workout as the most experienced PK on the Jets’ roster, after Jay Feely’s signing with Arizona last week. But that’s not what will make the outdoor session (perhaps in the rain here in North Jersey) so good for him.

"Coach Ryan told me somebody will probably be in here competing with me," he said. "I’ve competed two out of three years for someone, so it’s not bad. I don’t mind it at all. It’ll bring out the best for the team and I think it should bring out the best in you."

Folk needs to show his best because it’s better than how he ended last season with Dallas. Many remember his struggles as he went 4-for-11 on his field goal tries in a six-game span before the Cowboys released him with two games to go in the regular season.

Looking back on December, he was asked, was he surprised he was let go?

"The way I was kicking? It was going to happen at some point unless I started making kicks," he said.

But the downside of this game often is that the good work of players and teams gets forgotten in the blink of the eye that is the NFL’s 16-game season. What folks might forget about Folk is that for 2½ seasons, he was fashioning a career as one of the league’s best young kickers.

Folk wasn’t going to go into all the reasons that career got put on hold for a while. But he allowed that a lot had to do with the hip procedure he underwent in May 2009 after that joint had bothered him for much of ’08.

"I don’t want to blame anything, but everything leads back to the surgery. That’s what I can kind of attribute it to," he said. "I talked with my kicking coach and there was something really minor I had picked up, and it was because I felt I needed to get more aggressive to the ball to compensate for things. That’s just the way it was. But everything feels good now."

There’s no telling who all will be competing against Folk for the kicking job this off-season and training camp. On Tuesday the Jets announced the signing of Clint Stitser, the Fresno State kicker who reminds me just a bit of John Hall — not quite as big at 6’1" and 200 pounds as Johnny was, but still big enough, and raw with 71 percent career accuracy at Fresno, similar to how raw Hall was coming out of Wisconsin as a free agent under Bill Parcells in 1997. Stitser had a strong workout for Westhoff and the Jets before signing on and for now he’s in the competition.

But Folk is even bigger at 6’1", 225, and he looks as if he’s got back the confidence that led him to a Pro Bowl appearance as a rookie in 2007 and an even better non-PB season the next year.

"It’s such an up-and-down game. I’ve just got to keep my head to the grind, keep working, keep going," he said. "We’ll get it fixed."

I asked him about the possible opportunity to open another new NFL stadium in style. Last year Folk converted the first placement, an extra point, in Cowboys Stadium’s Aug. 21 preseason debut, then hit all his kicks (4 PATs and a 47-yard FG) in the official Sunday night unveiling in the loss to the Giants last Sept. 20. He may well have the chance to hit the first kick in New Meadowlands Stadium in the Monday night preseason opener against the Giants, not to mention the first "real" kick in the the Jets’ NMS history in the Monday night regular-season opener.

"It’s important, but I think it’s more important for the team to get a win in the first game," he said. "We didn’t win the first one last year in Dallas. I could care less how many field goals I kick. I could kick extra points all day long if we win games and win the Super Bowl."

I reminded him that I didn’t think he’d ever missed an extra point in all the ups and downs of his three-year pro career. He didn’t say a word, just knocked on the wood panel at the side of his locker, before heading to today’s practice.

Here are some pertinent breakdowns for Folk and the NFL the past three seasons. They don’t prove anything, but they should remind us that the Jets have a pretty decent kicker on the roster.

2007 Week 1–2009 Week 9 FG-FGA Pct XP-XPA Pct
Nick Folk 60-70 85.7 118-118 100.0
All Other NFL Kickers 1938-2331 83.1 2827-2855 99.0
2009 Week 10–2009 Week 17   FG-FGA  Pct XP-XPA Pct
Nick Folk 4-11 36.4 13-13 100.0
All Other NFL Kickers    752-919    81.8   1152-1172  98.3

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Posted in Randy Lange | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Folk’s Feeling Good About a Career Restart”

  1. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Only part of this article that interests me is the part about someone coming in to compete with him, and that better mean more than this guy Stitser.

  2. By Brian Westerman on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    didnt the jets just sign neil rackers too?

  3. By uncle joe on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    I could care less if we got that kicker from Oakland,Feely was the man,he actually made me think about getting a Kicker’s Jersey!

  4. By Row on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Put 100 balls in the freezer and spray half of them with water, bring them out and if he kicks 80 of them through from 40 then keep him.

  5. By Ira on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, I agree with you that Folk can return to his 07 form with the help of Westhoff. I am rooting for him for sure. Kickers are funny. They can have a good streak going and then all of a sudden they struggle. I always liked Hall even with his ups and downs. Couldn’t top his kickoffs. I wish Folk all the luck in the world but i still wouldn’t be surprised if the opening day kicker is not on the roster until the end of August. GO JETS!!!!!

  6. By Vincent on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    If he gets his confidence and his kicking leg back, this guy may turn out to be one heck of a catch. Fingers crossed…

  7. By Frankie on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    how don’t care how good any kicker kicks when were winning games but when the game is on the line or we need it for the win he sure the heck better kick it through the posts. We don’t want another Doug Brien

  8. By Hogan on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Ira, Westhoff, although I love him, addmited himself he does not really work with kickers much. Is O’Dea still with us?He is the one to work with him.

  9. By Randy Lange on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Hogan, Kevin O’Dea left to become ST coordinator under head coach Chris Palmer on the Hartford Patriots in the UFL.

  10. By Chris K. on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    Bad move letting Feely go. He was terrific punting in the playoff game against the Bengals. It’s time to move on now and if our kicker ( Folk, Stitser, or whoever it is ) costs us games, Tanny will regret he let Feely go. IMO for a team that values Special Teams so much, it was foolish to try and save a few dollars.

  11. By Gman on Apr 8, 2010 | Reply

    I liked Feely too, but he did miss two FG in Championship game on first drives of bothes halves. Just sayin, if you don’t want another Doug Brien.

  12. By punchie on Apr 9, 2010 | Reply

    “Dear Randy”love the jets love the site.If you know anyone in the front office could you please get them to take a look at Hazem El masri.scored 342 points in a season,139 FIELDGOALS in a season,11 FIELDGOALS in a game,34pts in a game,the guy can kick a fieldgoal on the sideline from 50 meters out. and get this he can kick it from there “BLINDFOLDED” the guy is a freak and he just retired from the NRL in Australia.Don`t beleive me GOOGLE,Hazem ElMasri NRL.or “RANDY”ask any ausie sport reporter

  13. By Randy Lange on Apr 9, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks for the tip, punchie. I’m pretty sure our college scouts and pro personnel people are aware of him but I’ll pass on your recommendation.

  14. By SCfromNY on Apr 9, 2010 | Reply

    Perhaps it is finally time for a role reversal. Usually the Jets get someone good and he tanks it or they cut someone who becomes a star. The new Jets . . . They take the cut player and he becomes a star. You can hope, right?

  15. By Donal on Apr 9, 2010 | Reply

    I can’t help but feel that there might be more to the Feely story than we have been told. Feely appears to be politically conservative and appeared on the Sean Hannity show several times. Perhaps this rubbed the Jets’ FO the wrong way either because they disagreed with his positions or perhaps they just do not want their employees expressing their political views to the public because any political position is likely to alienate possibly half of the Jets’ fan base.

  16. By Hogan on Apr 10, 2010 | Reply

    Donal, I have been aware Feely is conservative for a long time(and I am really anti-conservative), but he is a good kicker and a good football player. I douhbt that had any bareing on it. It was $$$

  17. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Apr 11, 2010 | Reply

    Donal, without getting into anybody’s politics, I occurred to me as well that posting opinions about government policies on Twitter might not be the best things for a pro football player to be doing, at least during the season. The team needs to focus on the shared goal of winning, not potentially fragmenting issues regarding the idiots in Washington. Then again, I think Twitter is even more idiotic than politics.

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