Everyone says it’s left Mark Sanchez. Jerricho Cotchery admits it’s a little off. And coach Rex Ryan says it’s not the same as it once was.
Seemingly the only Jet who hasn’t lost any swagger is Nick Folk. Or so he says.
With two well-kicked field goals on Sunday accounting for the Jets only points in a 10-6 loss to Miami, Folk appears to once again be on the right path. The week before, he badly missed his first kick of the game up at Foxborough into a stiff wind. It would be hard to blame Folk for missing a 53-yard field goal on a snowy field with windy conditions, but he nevertheless received his fair share of criticism for the miss.
“It was windy, really windy and I was adjusting my angle for that wind,” Folk sai. “As soon as I hit the ball, the wind literally died – it just died. That’s why it hooked that way. I hit it the way I wanted to, but then the conditions changed for me.”
But Folk had been receiving criticism well before that miss in New England. A week after he hit the winning field goal in a 23-20 overtime win at Detroit, Folk became a curse word among Jets fans when he went just 2-for-5 on attempts the next week at Cleveland. Head coach Rex Ryan blamed poor turf at Cleveland Browns Stadium for affecting Folk’s ability to plant his foot but one of the misses was a ‘gimme,” a 23-yard effort that Folk missed badly.
He hit 3-of-4 the next game, a Week 11 win over the Texans, but then missed on Thanksgiving night against the Bengals. The miss came right before halftime and he had made the original kick, an effort which was scratched because Cincinnati had called a timeout a moment before the snap in an attempt to ice the kicker.
It worked and Folk left the field for the locker room to a chorus of boos.
But the Miami game showed that Folk still has plenty in his leg, even if Jets fans have grown accustomed to jeering him lustily and turning his last name into a profanity inspired punch line.
“What the Folk?” however, never doubted himself.
“There was never any doubt in my mind over the past few weeks that I wasn’t kicking well, because I was,” Folk said. “Everything is going along fine recently and I’m hitting the ball well. That kick in New England, that was tough with the conditions but I still hit it the way I wanted to, it was just the sudden change with the wind that caused it to go off course like that.”
Folk is tied for fourth in the league with most field goals made with his 25 converted kicks. On the flip side, his conversion percentage of 74 percent is second-worst in the league among kickers with 20 or more attempts.
But three of those misses this year have come from over 50 yards, a difficult distance for even the best of kickers.
Folk might be cursed in the eyes of Jets fans, no matter what he does. In his first year with the team, Folk replaced the ever popular Jay Feely as the team’s kicker. Feely was a legend for his solid leg and his fearless style on special teams, a kicker noted to be one of the better tacklers in the league at his position.
Despite the expectations and the boos, Folk said he never doubted himself … or his swagger.
“I never felt like I lost that edge or more confidence or that swagger,” Folk said. “I always had it and I think Sunday showed that I never lost it.”
Now if only the rest of his teammates could find it.