FOXBORO, Mass. — As a fourth-round pick, Chad Ryland likely has a longer leash than most rookie kickers. But that leash only goes so far, and Ryland is testing its limits.

The Maryland product missed what would’ve been a game-tying 35-yard field goal in the closing moments of the Patriots’ Week 12 road loss to the New York Giants. The inexcusable miss arrived two weeks after Ryland missed a chip shot in New England’s loss to the Indianapolis Colts in Germany.

No Matchup Found

Click here to enter a different Sportradar ID.

Bill Belichick offered a harsh critique of Ryland when asked about him Monday morning. A day later, the Patriots hosted a slew of kickers for tryouts.

Story continues below advertisement

So, is Ryland still New England’s top kicker?

“He’s on the roster, yeah,” Belichick said during his Wednesday morning news conference.

    What do you think?  Leave a comment.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement, but it was better than an outright “no.” Still, what about all those kicker tryouts?

“Yeah, we worked some guys out,” Belichick said. “We usually do that this time of year.”

Story continues below advertisement

After re-signing quarterback Will Grier, the Patriots began Wednesday with an open spot on their practice squad. Could that spot go to a kicker who could challenge Ryland?

Belichick, clearly frustrated, interrupted a reporter who asked that very question.

“Look, the guys that are here need to be ready to go,” he said. “That’s what everybody’s job is.”

Ryland has a big leg and is loved by his teammates. He’s conducted himself well throughout what’s been a trying year for everyone in New England, including himself. It’s also fair to point out that Ryland hasn’t had many opportunities, with his 18 field goal attempts ranking as the fourth-fewest among all full-time kickers.

Story continues below advertisement

But kicking is a make-miss business in the NFL, and Ryland through 12 weeks ranks second-to-last with a 66.7% field goal percentage (12-of-18). Nick Folk, whom Ryland replaced, ranks tied for third with 95.7%.

So, Ryland flat-out hasn’t been good enough. And he could lose his job if he doesn’t turn things around in a hurry.

Featured image via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images