There is a lot of talk about the New England Patriots‘ quarterback competition, but we might be seeing another battle for a starting spot amongst the kickers.
Nick Folk’s job might not be as safe as once believed.
The Patriots’ rookie kicker Quinn Nordin had a spectacular showing to continue with what has been an impressive training camp for the Michigan alum.
Rookie Kicker Quinn Nordin Puts on a Show With 10-for-10 Showing
On Friday night, the Patriots held a lightly-contested scrimmage at Gillette Stadium with fans in attendance. While there was only so much to be taken from the 11-on-11 action with no pads, the special teams battles could be a different story.
The Patriots’ 36-year-old veteran kicker Folk had a strong 2020 season. He converted 26 of his 28 attempts and came into training camp as the favorite to hold on to his post. However, Nordin is putting some serious heat on Folk, and he turned up the temperature on Friday night with a perfect 10-for-10 performance.
Mind you, we’re not talking 30 and 35-yarders.
Nordin, who is known for his strong leg, hit some deep shots. According to some who were in attendance, the kicks would have easily been good from 60 yards or more.
Before his 10th successful kick, Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels tweeted:
The Athletic’s Jeff Howe downplayed the significance of any takeaways from the primetime practice. However, he did take note of Nordin’s accuracy and the strength of his leg.
About the only thing of actual substance, undrafted rookie Quinn Nordin made all 10 of his kicks in the walkthrough, including a 57- and 55-yarders in the final two possessions. He then drew a smile and a handshake from Bill Belichick at the end of practice. With Folk sidelined, Nordin has an incredible opportunity to seize the kicking spotlight. Folk got $1.225 million guaranteed, which would be a disproportionately large amount for the Patriots to swallow if they prefer Nordin, so he still has a massive hill to climb. But this was a terrific night for the Michigan product.
Last year, Bill Belichick cut Folk and rookie Justin Rohrwasser to start the season before bringing them both back. Ultimately, Folk separated himself. Could the same thing happen in 2021?
Nordin Has Been Impressing Teammates and Onlookers Throughout Training Camp
Patriots special teams mainstay Matthew Slater has recognized Nordin’s leg strength, describing it as a cannon.
Bleacher Report’s Alex Kay called Nordin the undrafted free agent with the best chance of making the Patriots’ roster.
He seems to at least be in the running to challenge Nick Folk for the placekicking. Nordin has drawn praise from teammates, including longtime special teams ace Matt Slater, who said the following about the rookie early on in camp (via Chris Mason of MassLive.com): “He’s got a cannon on him. There’s no doubt about that. He’s super explosive, and Quinn, he asks a ton of questions, which I love—young guys who ask questions.” Folk emerged as a steady presence in New England last season, connecting on 26-of-28 field-goal attempts and converted all 13 of his tries inside 40 yards. Nordin finished his career at Michigan having knocked through 42 of 58 field-goal tries and was shaky in his final season with just two of five attempts going through the uprights. Unless Nordin can become more consistent, Folk is likely to retain his role as the Pats’ top kicker for the 2021 campaign.
Consistency has always been the thing that has kept Nordin from becoming a star, and it’s also probably why he went undrafted. If the Patriots coaches and anyone he’s worked out with over the summer have helped to correct the technical or mental issues that were causing the inconsistencies, New England could have a diamond in the rough.
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