FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Not much is changing for Nick Folk, who admits that the new point-after attempt rules are a challenge, but something he is ready for.
The New York Jets kicker has been among the steadiest in the league over the past two seasons and boasts a 100 percent career efficiency on extra points, this on 292 attempts, as he enters his ninth season. That unblemished mark could change with new NFL rules pushing the attempt back 13 yards as the ball will now be snapped from the 15-yard line.
It will be a new challenge for Folk as extra points go from what he called “ceremonial” to now a longer kick and a greater challenge.
“I try to make every kick look the same, whether it is an extra-point or a long field goal. It might at the end of the year, change the play-calling. In order to win a game at the end of the year, you might want to go for two. I don't know,” Folk told Metro during this week's minicamp. "I've been working on it this whole offseason from 23-yard line middle. I knew in my head it was going to change.”
The new rule makes this a far more intriguing play. What was considered a chip-shot is now an active play and one where the defensive team will be more likely to challenge and try to block the attempt.
And the ball is now live as the defensive team can potentially score points off a missed PAT or a two-point conversion attempt, also brand new rules. All this means that Folk will now face block attempts unlike those he's encountered in the past.
“I think so. When you talk to the big guys, they'll tell you that they're rushing harder but I can see it on film. The farther you are, the harder they'll come at you,” Folk said. “Obviously with an extra-point, you're not really worried about a fake from there. But it's 'Alright, we're not really going to rush.' As soon as it leaves my foot under the old rule, it's dead. Now there is something for the defense. Talking to the big guys, they seem to think there will be more of a rush.”
The real good news for Folk and the Jets is that he's had success at what is roughly the extra point distance. Last year, Folk made all seven of his field goal attempts between the 30-to-39 yard line.
And over the past four years, he is 29-for-32 from within that range. So this is a ranger where he has comfort and found success.
Despite his success at that range, in particular last year, Folk does anticipate that there will be far more extra point misses this year around the league. Which is what the league wanted when it enacted this rule, another exciting moment of action for what was once considered an automatic point.
“Probably will see some more misses. Obviously it's a little farther. Later in the year, it'll go down more. Windy, cold all can affect things,” Folk said. “Let's say we're competing with Indianapolis or Houston and we're down, they're inside. That can have an impact.”