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STS*: ‘Phenomenal’ Folk Embracing the Pressure

Posted by Randy Lange on October 27, 2012 – 10:09 am

There have been plenty of highs and lows so far through the first seven weeks of the Jets’ season.

But possibly the least-talked-about positive has been the perfect start from kicker Nick Folk.

“He has been phenomenal,” head coach Rex Ryan said this week. “There are a lot of areas that we can improve in. Kicking is not one of them. The guy has been absolutely phenomenal.”

Just like a season ago, Folk has once again started 11-of-11 on his field goal attempts.

“I’ve had some pretty good starts,” Folk said Friday. “I just have to try and keep it rolling. I feel like I’m hitting the ball really solidly and trying to keep improving every day on the little things.”

The sixth-year pro is coming off a 4-of-4 performance Sunday during the Jets’ 29-26 overtime loss at New England. In that game, he connected on a 54-yarder, which trimmed the Patriots’ lead to 16-10 at the intermission, and later in a 29-second span hit a pair of 43-yarders, one to tie the game at 23-all and the next to give the Jets a three-point lead with 1:37 left in regulation.

“I mean, it felt good, but at the same time you know, we didn’t get the win,” the kicker said. “Like when we beat Indy and I just kicked a bunch of extra points, I’d take that. I just want to win. I think we’ll keep getting better and keep improving every week and we’ll do well this Sunday.”

The Jets will host the Miami Dolphins at MetLife Stadium. The teams already met this season back on Sept. 23. Jets All Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis went down with a season-ending ACL injury during the third quarter, yet the Green & White still were able to overcome adversity and exit Sun Life Stadium with a 23-20 overtime victory. With 6:04 remaining in the extra session, Folk converted the game-winning 33-yard FG.

“We pulled together when Reve got hurt,” he said. “The team kind of battened down the hatches and played well at the end there. I think we played our best football at the end of that game, so it was a good way to end the game. It kind of stunk we had some guys get hurt, but that’s football and I think guys are rallying around each other right now and doing a good job.”

Folk kept his job as the Jets kicker this season, but it wasn’t easy as he beat out former Rams kicker Josh Brown in a tight competition during training camp. At the time, special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff called the competition between the kickers the best he’d witnessed in his coaching career. Ryan also was amazed.

“I thought those guys really pushed each other,” the fourth-year head coach said, “but when you look at the end result, there is nobody kicking better than Nick because he’s made every kick.”

Over the course of Folk’s career, he is an astonishing 41-of-43 (95.3%) on fourth-quarter field goal attempts, including the playoffs. That percentage is second-best among all NFL kickers in the fourth quarter since 1991 with at least six tries.

“I think most kickers should live for it. I do,” Folk said of kicking in the clutch. “I embrace the pressure. I don’t try to shun it away. I just try to have fun with it and just kind of keep it rolling.”

And while his fourth-quarter numbers surely speak for themselves, Folk said he doesn’t pay attention to the stats.

“I’m just trying to do my job and when it comes down to that time, that’s when they’re most important,” he said. “So I just try to be my best at the end, and you kind of want to be your best at all times, but that’s when it really matters, and I’m trying to keep an even keel at the end of the game, when everything is on the line. Just trying to do well, hit the ball solidly and have a good end.”

No. 2 for the Green & White stated that he’s been pleased with his kicking production not just during games this season but also through practices. He said the primary thing the team is focused on is trying to reach 3-1 in the AFC East and 4-4 overall, heading into their bye week.

It’s obviously uncertain whether Folk will continue his impressive streak as the season progresses, but if he can stay healthy there’s always a chance.

“I think that’s a big thing,” Folk said. “Don’t get tired, make sure you’re watching the amount of kicks you’re doing in practice, keep your leg strong, but don’t get too tired to where you’re overkicking, and mentally stay into it. I think those are the two biggest things. Just stay strong and stay healthy and stay mentally focused for every kick.”

*Special Teams Saturday

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Posted in John Holt | 18 Comments »

18 Responses to “STS*: ‘Phenomenal’ Folk Embracing the Pressure”

  1. By Mike Jet Vet on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    Folk, One bright spot on our team. Finally, Rex, going to bat for someone who really deserves his accolades. I didn’t get a chance in my last few posts, I really like this Kid Lex Hillard I think he’s going to be a good one .I know I liked Powell as well so far being hurt he really hasn’t had a shot at a full game so jury is still out on him… Yes it’s time for the youngens to get out there and show their wares, spot play Pace Thomas and Scott unlike some here. I believe they still have value and will show you all if and when crunch time comes.

  2. By Byrdman on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    While I’m thrilled that we’ve got a decent kicking game this year – a caution flag goes up. I’m thinking Tony will get so enamored with 3 points, play calling will be ultra-conservative past the 50, drives will bog down and Jets will lose a bunch of games 21-16 or 21-19 cause they score one TD then settle for 3 or 4 FG’s the rest of the game. Remember that year the Rams lost their Kicker? They didn’t care, it didn’t even slow them down, they were so confident that their Offence could score TD’s they went for it when they had 4th down and 5 at the 38 yard line. It started a new trend in the NFL !

  3. By scjoe on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    I have to admit, I was one who didn’t feel comfortable with the PK or the punter during camp. In retrospect, I was wrong, and I don’t mind admitting that under the circumstances. Both have been outstanding, both have contributed to the “success” (for lack of a better term) that the Jets have had. I can only hope it continues throughout the season. In Westhoff we trust. At least I do.

  4. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    I’ll say this for Folk as a Jet: As he got better, Kaeding, whom some of us hoped would become a Jet, blew more big kicks, got injured, and now seems well on his way out of the league. Just goes to show that you can never tell about a player without giving him a certain amount of time to show what he’s got.

  5. By scjoe on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    Ron, GaryC, we talked about college RBs, Marcus Lattimore specifically, well, he went down again today with what looks like a pretty serious knee injury. Don’t know all the details yet, but if it is another serious one you can bet it will effect his draft status.

  6. By PIEMAN on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    I’m happy for nick ,and the jets have had some great luck with kickers ” pat leahy or jay feely” but this article screams about the lack of anything else thats this positive on the team. time to change that good luck to rex and team tomorrow!

  7. By scjoe on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, saw your comments in an earlier story about Greenville. When family and friends come down to visit and I take them downtown and show them the dinning options, and places like the Bi Lo center, the Peace center, and the Reedy Falls Park downtown, the pristine up keep of the entire area, they are all awestruck! I hear comments such as ” THIS is SC?” I never imagined it like this, etc. And when they hear about the cost of living compared to NY, most hit the floor.

  8. By Karan on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    I’m sorry, I forgot who said what I’m about to say on an earlier comment on this site, but i agree with them, regardless of how poor of a job Tannenbaum has done surrounding Sanchez with enough receivers to help him, I credit Tannenbaum on getting guys like Lex Hilliard, Jason Smith and Konrad Reuland. All three have done a great job blocking, so very essential. Important to have these type of workhorse guys in the roster, they do the dirty work along with the rest of our O-line.

  9. By GaryC on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    my first thought that Hayden Smith was promoted to roster is that the jets plan on having a conservative game plan against the Dolphins,especially releasing Jason Hill,You already have Reuland as your blocking tightend and Hilliard as your blocking back.I guess the jets believe Sanchez can’t duplicate his feat again,and it seems that we are going to see more of Tebow,Heaven forbid.you also are playing Jason Smith as a blocking Tightend,how many more you need.this smells like a bad omen for this game.Talk about two yards and a cloud of dust offense.

  10. By GaryC on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    Scjoe,sometimes people who live in New york which I did,never find out how many beautiful cities there are outside of New York.Many believe that the excitement just isn’t there,but when you get older you don’t need that much excitement.I saw the Lattimore inury today,Ball didn’t look that good either against Michigan State,a much better defense then Purdue.

  11. By kw65Fan on Oct 27, 2012 | Reply

    I can just se it…and hoping I am right…Deep seam pass down the middle to our wide open tight end…hayden Smith…and takes it in for a 54 yard TD. Would be awesome…our own Gronk. This guy is VERY athletic…and i am sure he will make the transition. Maybe a test to see what he has..and then don’t spend so carelessly on Keller. He is going to open a few eyes…especially us fans.
    Now if we can just give McElroy a chance….

  12. By scjoe on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    I hate to hit anyone when they are down, so I will address this comment to ALL of the Mark Sanchez apologists. Show me, every once in a while at least, where Mark Sanchez has a game even remotely similar to those you see from Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Eli, Peyton and even Stafford on an ongoing basis. A game where they throw for 400 yards, with 3 or 4 TDs. Shoot, I have even seen times when each have exceeded those stats. When I see MS duplicate those feets at least 2 or 3 times, then I will become a believer. Those QBs mentioned are capable of carrying a team by putting those type numbers up when they are needed. MS is not!

  13. By scjoe on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Just so I don’t get the typo reminder I meant “feats”

  14. By scjoe on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    GaryC, in regard to your assumption that the Jets will come out with an ultra conservative game plan and “think” they will beat the Fins with it. I can only hope that THAT is not what they have in mind, because if they do they will lose! I don’t see them running the ball with any type of authority against Miami. To win, Sanchez will have to have a non Sanchez type game. Miami and Tannyhill have improved big time since game #1. The Jets will have to play much better then they did in game # 1 to get a W. Of course game # 1 meaning Miami game # 1

  15. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    Ah, so the “sc” stands for South Carolina, not USC. Well, I’ll tell you this, scjoe, Nikki Haley gets my vote for coolest AND toughest governor in the whole damn country! I sure wish we had anything remotely like her out here in sinking-into-the-sea (more financially than topographically) California. (And see if you can tell me what classic ’60s song features these first two lines: “In South Carolina/There’re many tall pines…”)

  16. By SCfromNY on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    This not a negative on Folk. I always thought he was the better kicker in preseason. Some OCs make their QB better. Perhaps Sporano makes his kickers better. Unfortunatly the NFL has for the most part become a high scoring league and 3 pointers will not win many games.

    scjoe: regarding SC, my yearly home tax bill is less than my monthy tax bill in NY. Other than that food seems about the same. They just need to learn how to make a bagel.

  17. By scjoe on Oct 28, 2012 | Reply

    64, that would be The Byrds, “Hickory Wind” A little bit country and a little bit rock n roll :-) Getting back to our Jets, it is half time and there are 3 words that can describe this performance “What-A-Disgrace” Can it possibly get any worse?
    SCNY, the closest thing to a bagel I can get here is Bruggers, actually not that bad.

  18. By Jet Fan Since '64 Tom on Oct 29, 2012 | Reply

    Good rock ‘n’ roll memory on “Hickory Wind”, scjoe, now can you tell me what song from what band a few years after that was about Parsons and featured the line, “Down among the South Carolina pines you spent most of your life…”? Hint: That band’s leader knew Gram before just about anybody and in the Bronx, of all places, though neither were remotely from there. As for our Jets, I really only went on this story again because it struck me as so eerie that only days after an article on how great Folk was doing, we had our worst special teams day in team history, at least as far as kicking goes. The worst one as far as returns goes was, of course, the 11/09 MIA game with the 2 KO TDs.

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