Invoice Belichick doesn’t rule out risk of Patriots carrying two kickers on 53-man roster


Nick Folks and Chad Ryland have been battling for the kicker job this preseason.

Fourth-round rookie Chad Ryland has taken many of the kickoffs for the Patriots this preseason. Barry Chin/Globe Workers

When the Patriots chosen Chad Ryland within the fourth spherical of the 2023 NFL Draft, a number of assumed that Nick Folks’s time in New England was set to finish.

However Patriots coach Invoice Belichick didn’t rule out the potential of conserving two kickers on the roster when he spoke with reporters on Saturday.

“We had two kickers final yr on the roster for one recreation,” Belichick stated when requested if he would ever contemplate conserving two kickers on the 53-man roster. “Once more, there’s quite a lot of issues to contemplate if you take a look at the entire roster make-up.

“We’ll get into these this weekend and do what we really feel is greatest for the group. That’s all I can inform you.”

As Belichick alluded to, the Patriots may have loads of choices to make within the subsequent few days. Groups throughout the league must trim their rosters all the way down to 53 gamers by Tuesday at 4 p.m. New England remains to be carrying a 90-man roster as of Saturday morning, which means it’ll have to chop not less than 37 gamers.

The Patriots didn’t get to see a lot of the competitors unfold throughout their three preseason video games. New England solely had one subject purpose try throughout the preseason with Folks making a 44-yard kick within the first quarter of the preseason opener.

However Belichick stated he’s been capable of see greater than sufficient from Folks and Ryland at apply.

“, we haven’t kicked a subject purpose in preseason, so it’s all been touchdowns and no subject purpose makes an attempt,” Belichick mistakenly stated, although he wasn’t far off. “We’ve had loads of them in apply, and that’s what we now have to go off of. They’ve each had actually good camps, in order that’s a reasonably tight competitors.”

Folks was seen as one of many Patriots’ higher gamers for a lot of the previous couple of seasons. The 38-year-old was correct over the 2020 and 2021 seasons, making 62 of 67 (92.5 %) subject purpose makes an attempt throughout that point. He additionally made an NFL file 64 consecutive kicks from inside 50 yards, a streak that led to October of final season.

As Folks was rather less correct final yr (he made 86.5 % of his kicks) and struggled with longer subject objectives (he transformed 73.7 % of his kicks from not less than 40 yards out), the Patriots opted to draft Ryland, who was identified for his huge leg in school. The Patriots made him the highest-selected specialist within the Belichick period after they drafted him with the 112th general decide.

Ryland has taken extra kickoff alternatives than Folks this preseason, kicking off seven instances as Folks’s solely carried out it twice. Ryland transformed 5 of his kickoffs into touchbacks, too. Each kickers made their two point-after makes an attempt as nicely.

However Ryland has reportedly struggled at instances throughout coaching camp, lacking just a few tries in a row throughout apply on Tuesday. Belichick has by no means reduce a wholesome rookie chosen within the first 4 rounds throughout his time in New England, so Ryland is probably going protected. However missed kicks like that would open the door for Folks to stay on the roster.

Along with the kicker battle, the Patriots have additionally used two punters in coaching camp within the preseason. Sixth-round rookie Bryce Baringer and veteran Corliss Waitman are each battling for a roster spot.

Belichick talked about the competitors at punter when he was requested concerning the kicking competitors on Saturday.

“Similar factor with the punter state of affairs, Corliss had two enormous punts final night time, one out of the tip zone, so we’ll see how that goes,” Belichick stated. “It seems like we’ve received an excellent competitors at each of these spots.”

Whereas Waitman had a powerful night time Friday, it seems that Baringer has the within observe for the punter job, as he’s taken many of the reps within the preseason and in apply.