FOXBORO, MASS. — It took only a few days of training camp for Bill Belichick to deliver his first long, detailed rant of the season.
Last year, the Patriots head coach gave long-winded answers to questions about long snappers, Lawrence Taylor and blitz pickups, among other things. His 1,500-word soliloquy on long snappers really is worth revisiting.
And while not nearly as long as that behemoth, Belichick’s quote about Nick Folk on Thursday was interesting in its own right. When asked by the Boston Herald’s Andrew Callahan whether Folk’s on-to-the-next-kick mentality has helped fuel his longevity, Belichick delivered the following 300-plus words:
“Yeah, I think there’s definitely a common thread on those guys. We’ve been very fortunate, we’ve had some great ones: (Matt) Stover in Cleveland, (Matt) Bahr and those guys at the Giants and so forth. But more recently, (Adam) Vinatieri to (Stephen) Gostkowski to Folk, all very professional. Got Nick at the later part of his career, Adam mid-career, Steve obviously was the beginning of his career, so, they came in different stages, but ultimately a lot of mental toughness, a lot of confidence, having to adjust to the kicking situation here in New England. It’s not the easiest thing in the world, it’s not like kicking in a dome, so, there are challenges out on the practice field and in the stadium every day. There’s no perfect conditions, so to speak, or very few anyway. So those guys have a lot of consistency.
“Nick does a very good job, as the other ones did too. Nick does a really good job of adjusting his technique to the situation and the specific conditions of that kick, whatever it happens to be. The wind, the rush, the operation, and so forth. We’re fortunate we’ve been able to have Jake (Bailey) and Joe (Cardona) as a good unit here for an extended period of time — that’s always good. There’s things that are just little things, but they’re big things when you’re kicking: no huddle field goal when you’re not using a kicking ball, now you’re using a quarterback ball stuff like that, you know, there’s a lot of little things that come up and when you sit down and discuss them with Nick, he’s got a real steady, professional approach to all of it. Knows what he wants to do, knows what he has to do, but he doesn?t overanalyze it or make too big of a production out of it, still comes to putting your foot on the ball properly. Nick’s a really, really smart kicker. He’s really smart”
There’s no denying how good Folk has been since joining New England midway through the 2019 season. Since then, the veteran has converted 76 of 84 field goal attempts and, honestly, been one of the best kickers in the NFL.
In fact, Folk is a perfect 41-for-41 on field goals from under 40 yards in a Patriots uniform. Barring something unforeseen, he’ll be New England’s kicker for Week 1.
NESN.com’s coverage of New England Patriots preseason is presented by Cross Insurance, protecting your team since 1954.