Justin Rohrwasser Or Nick Folk? Bill Belichick Dishes On Patriots’ Kicker Battle

It's New England's first training camp kicker competition since 2006

by Zack Cox

Aug 26, 2020

This year’s New England Patriots training camp already featured the team’s first quarterback competition since 1992.

It now also has the franchise’s first kicker battle since 2006.

With rookie fifth-round draft pick Justin Rohrwasser struggling through the first week of camp, the Patriots on Monday re-signed veteran kicker Nick Folk, who spent the second half of last season in New England.

With just 11 days remaining until the roster cutdown deadline, Rohrwasser and Folk will be in open competition for the job previously held by Stephen Gostkowski.

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick addressed this important roster battle during his Wednesday morning video conference.

“I think both players are good kickers,” Belichick said. “We’ll see how it goes. That’ll be up to them to decide. … Those two guys will both get as much opportunity as we can give them, and we’ll evaluate them and go from there.”

Belichick said the Patriots had been in talks with Folk for “several months” before opting to bring him back into the fold. The 35-year-old kicked in eight games for New England in 2019, including playoffs, stabilizing the position after Gostkowski landed on injured reserve and his initial replacement, Mike Nugent, couldn’t measure up.

“We’ve talked to Nick throughout the course of the spring and even training camp, and things worked out here last week,” Belichick said. “It’s great to have him. He certainly came in and did a good job for us last year. But things just didn’t work out until recently with Nick. I’m glad they did. I’m glad he’s here, and we’ll see how it turns out. I don’t know.

“But we’ve been talking to Nick since back in March, so this isn’t something that just came up a couple days ago. It’s been an ongoing conversation for several months, actually.”

Folk went 16-for-19 on field-goal attempts last season, with two of his misses coming from 40-plus yards during a driving rainstorm. His other miss was blocked. He was perfect on extra points and converted both of his field-goal tries in New England’s wild-card round loss to the Tennessee Titans, hitting from 36 and 21.

Rohrwasser, the first kicker selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, has looked erratic in his first Patriots training camp. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe on Saturday reported the Marshall product was dealing with an undisclosed injury.

Folk made his first three field-goal attempts in team drills during Tuesday’s practice, hitting from roughly 33, 43 and 48 yards before shifting to the narrower practice goal posts and missing from 50. Rohrwasser went 2-for-3 on the regulation posts, missing from 43.

New England’s last training camp kicker battle was between Gostkowski, then a rookie fourth-round pick, and veteran Martin Gramatica. The former won the job and held it for 14 seasons before being released this past spring.

With no preseason games, this competition — like every other roster battle in Patriots training camp — will be decided on the practice field.

Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots

Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots
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