His name went from a euphemism to a clutch phrase. Such is the life of Jets kicker Nick Folk.
Folk, now in his second year with the Jets, seems to be hitting his stride. He has made 12 of his 13 field goal attempts on the season and is perhaps putting to rest a rough 2010 season. Folk struggled with his rhythm.
Not so now. He hasn’t “Folk’d one” this year at all.
“I think the biggest thing right now is consistency — my consistency— just developing that good rhythm with my kicks,” Folk told Metro. “With Tanner [Purdum] and Mark [Brunell], we’ve got a good thing going with snaps and holding and I feel that I’m kicking well right now. It’s been about building the confidence. It’s been there awhile, but I showed flashes last year. There was that rough patch in the middle, but I ended strong. I knew it was there, but I had to show it — just put it through.”
The struggles of last year seem to be a thing of the past for Folk, who started the 2010 season similarly hot, making 13 of 15 field goal attempts. Then after a Week 7 bye, Folk would go on to connect on only 10 of his next 17 field goal attempts. Some kicks, like a long distance effort in New England, can be blamed on distance and horrible conditions. Others, such as a chip shot in Cleveland, were just a matter of technique.
There was a stretch where he had misses in five of six games. The only game without a miss was Week 9 underneath the roof of Ford Field. Unlike last year where he was up and down in his form, Folk has been nailing almost every kick this year. His first miss was last week and it was from 50 yards, into the swirling wind of Buffalo.
“He’s done a heck of a job. He’s really worked hard. He really worked hard, got himself in shape, got himself back in the best physical shape he’s ever been in,” special teams coach Mike Westhoff said. “He has great confidence, but you can see the consistency in his technique.”
The veteran Folk says that he is constantly communicating with head coach Rex Ryan and Westhoff about where he feels comfortable lining up, even if that means tempering his competitive spirit.
“You want to make them all. It’s like a guy trying to hit a home run — ah, he almost hit a home run — but it’s still an out. I think we learned as an organization that, sometimes, it isn’t the time to kick the long ones with the weather we had. The big thing I learned last year was sometimes, to not take that kick,” Folk said. “You always want to go out there, but you have to learn. Playing out there in Pittsburgh or New England, the ball isn’t going to go as a far, it gets cold. Sometimes you can, maybe at the end of the half, end of the game, yeah you, try it. But this year, we’re putting ourselves in a better overall position to win the game. It’s a big thing for me to tell Rex, Westhoff that now isn’t the time.”
It means a lot more communication for Folk and a lot of chatter along the sideline in determining where he feels comfortable and what the range is. Before the game, Folk will give Westhoff his lines based off where and how he was kicking during the pregame warm-up. But during the game, Folk will watch the wind patterns in the stadium and make adjustments.
“We’re all talking, we’re all on the same page and I think that is a big difference for us this year as opposed to parts of last season,” Folk said. “We’re all communicating so that we can put ourselves in the best position possible to make the kicks we should make.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.