Even by Jets standards, the way the kicking competition played out on Saturday night in their 24-21 preseason win over the Giants was bizarre.
Kicker Nick Folk, who entered his training camp competition with Billy Cundiff as the starter the past three years, missed one field-goal attempt early in overtime as the Giants called a timeout to ice him and then missed the subsequent chip shot to keep the game tied. Then, Cundiff missed his field-goal attempt later in overtime but alas, the Giants had called a timeout to ice him. So rather than attempt another field goal, the Jets trotted their offense back out onto the field to run two plays before calling on Cundiff, who connected on a 32-yard field goal to mercifully end the game.
But the entire sequence, including the Jets’ decision to bring out the offense after their kicker was iced, is something the nine-year veteran had never experienced.
“It was unusual. Every time I feel like I’ve said I’ve seen it all, you obviously have an opportunity that presents itself,” said Cundiff, who is in his first year with the Jets. “There you go, add that to the list. I think it was a good thing because it got us back into a rhythm. They wasted a timeout so they couldn’t ice us the second time, [and] allow[ed] us to get a full operation in so when we knew we were going to kick it we went out there with a full play clock and plenty of time. It was a close field so you go out there and make it.”
Making things a bit more difficult was the way it all played out with Folk earlier in overtime. To miss one kick – the one the Giants called a timeout on – is bad enough for a player trying to win the starting job. But then to miss the second kick is disheartening for Jets fans who had grown used to Folk’s reliability.
Folk and Cundiff are friends dating back to meeting at a wedding of a fellow kicker a few years ago, meaning the two are competing for one roster spot in a situation fraught with awkwardness.
“It is a tough situation because you never want to see anybody fail, especially when you’re competing. When you’re in a competition, you want to win,” Cundiff said. “You don’t want somebody else to lose, especially how well we’ve both kicked all camp. I feel that Nick has kicked extremely well and with his track record, he’s kicked great in training. He’s competed against a lot of guys who are doing well in this league like Nick Novak and Josh Brown. He’s always kicked really well in training camp. To have this kind of situation pop up, it is discouraging because you’d like to see the guy succeed but it’s also the nature of the business. There’s only one guy at the end of it. I get my situation; I have to take advantage of it.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.