Jets kicker Nick Folk’s roster spot was in jeopardy following the third game of preseason. Now, he is one of several heroes following the Jets’ thrilling 18-17 win over the Buccaneers in their season opener win on Sunday afternoon.
In the third preseason game, Folk was iced in overtime as he missed two field-goal attempts to win the game over the Giants. The next week, Folk’s main competition, Billy Cundiff, was cut and Dan Carpenter was brought in to try and win the job. Folk held onto his job but he knew he was on a short leash.
Folk certainly quieted all those rumors of his demise with a 48-yard field goal with seven seconds left to win the game over the Buccaneers. He said he didn’t go back to that place two weeks ago where he was iced and missed the subsequent field-goal attempt.
“No, not at all. Didn’t even enter my mind. You try to keep those negative thoughts out. [I] tried to make it like an extra point,” Folk said. “[I] hit it pretty good, hit it pretty clean and I’ve been hitting the ball pretty well since the Giants game.”
While he has been rock steady during his three years in New York, the competition mantra from new general manager John Idzik meant Folk had to fight off three would-be usurpers during offseason workouts, June minicamp and eventually training camp and preseason.
But mentally he said he has stayed strong and he wasn’t going to let himself get iced like he did two weeks ago against the Giants.
“I have no idea [why I missed those]. I still have no idea. I don’t think about it and that’s when you’re back there and think about it that, ‘They’re going to ice me,’ then they don’t and you’re like, ‘Crap, no’ and you have to kick it,” Folk said. “You don’t think about it at all. You just go out there and kick it and if you have to kick it.”
In fact, he wishes he could have gone for a longer kick. The play before Folk’s field-goal attempt was a run by quarterback Geno Smith out of bounds and at the end of the run, Smith was pushed when he was already out of bounds by Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David. The 15-yard penalty shortened the kick required by Folk.
“Naw, I wish it was 63 yards,” Folk said with a laugh. “What kicker doesn’t dream of a 63-yard field goal to end a game?”
Folk’s career high is a 56-yard field goal.
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.