Written By Shannon MacDevine
If you read my game recap about Sunday’s win against the Cleveland Browns, you might remember my parting thoughts about the Pat’s kicking game so far this season. Check it out here to catch up!
When Stephen Gostkowski was put on IR in week 5 after a season-ending hip injury, hopes were high that replacement kicker Mike Nugent would be able to pick up the slack.
While Pat’s fans were left wondering about the all-star kicker’s performance, things were finally cleared up when Gostkowski’s hip injury was confirmed after the Patriots match up with the Bills.
Gostkowski, who has played with the Patriots since 2006, had missed one extra point and 4 field goals within those first four games; a huge change from his normally stellar record.
Formally from Ohio State, Mike Nugent signed on the Pat’s roster in early October with a 1 year million dollar contract. Though Nugent was a veteran of several teams including the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys, and Oakland Raiders (among others), it was clear right away that he was not going to be the kicking answer New England needed.
During Nugent’s first game as a Patriot (against the Washington Redskins), he missed his first field goal attempt. Unfortunately, things did not get better. All together, Nugent has missed 5 out of 8 field-goal attempts and missed one extra point.
Sunday’s game against the Browns must have been the last straw for head coach Belichick, though. Nugent had an extra point blocked, and his 34-yard field goal attempt went wide. It was announced that Nugent had been released from the Patriots on Tuesday.
With any luck, third times the charm will be accurate for the Pat’s kicking game. They signed 32-year old kicker Nick Folk to the 53 man-roster on Tuesday night. Folk, who was beat out by Nugent when the Pat’s brought him in to try out after Gostkowski went on IR, has not stepped on an NFL field since 2017.
Though Folk had success in his early career with the Cowboys, it has been touch and go since. Hopefully, when surrounded by the energy and persistence of the Patriots, he will be able to bolster the kicking game.
As the Patriots move into week 9, they will be facing the Baltimore Ravens who may be the toughest opponent they have faced this season. With QB Tom Brady listed as limited participation in today’s practice due to a right shoulder injury, the Pat’s injured offense is going to need all the help they can get.
Hopefully though, Folk will be able to step up and do his job. Only time will tell on this one, though. Check back on Sunday!