BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots need a new kicker. Again. But Bill Belichick doesn’t sound too concerned about New England’s special teams vacancy.
On his Tuesday morning conference call, the Patriots head coach said the team will take their time to figure out their best option at the position.
“We have a few days to work that out, so we’ll look at our options and do what we feel like is best for the team based on what our options are,” said Belichick. “I don’t know exactly how that’s going to go, but we’ll see.”
Unlike last week, the Patriots have some wiggle room this week when it comes to finding a new kicker. They were left scrambling last Thursday when Nick Folk had to have his appendix removed on Thanksgiving Day, giving the Pats only a few days to find a replacement before Sunday night’s game in Houston. The Patriots signed Kai Forbath to take Folk’s place, but he was released Monday after he went 1-for-2 on extra points in Sunday’s loss to the Texans.
“Last week was last week; this week is this week. Maybe it’ll be the same, maybe it’ll be different,” said Belichick. “Maybe some of the circumstances around that will change. That situation came up pretty late in the week, so this week, we have a little more time to plan and evaluate the entire situation. We’ll see what our options are and try to make the best one.”
It’s possible that Folk could be brought back if he’s healthy following his appendectomy. The 35-year-old veteran was effective in his three games with the Patriots despite his limited range, hitting seven of his nine field goal attempts and all three of his extra points.
The Patriots did explore having punter Jake Bailey kick field goals last weekend, but that would have required the team to find a new holder. That, plus the fact that Bailey hasn’t kicked since high school, led to New England signing Forbath.
If the Patriots bring in someone other than Folk, it will be their fifth kicker of the season. The Patriots have gone through a revolved door at kicker since losing Stephen Gostkowski to a hip injury in October, with Forbath, Folk and Mike Nugent (5-for-8 on field goals in his four games in New England) all coming and going at the position.
New England used their open roster spot from Forbath’s release to claim defensive lineman Albert Huggins off waivers on Monday. They may just be taking advantage of that extra spot before bringing Folk back later in the week, given his familiarity with the team, but you never know with Bill Belichick. One thing we know for certain — we think — is that the Pats will be making yet another transaction at kicker ahead of Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Chiefs clash on WBZ-TV — the flagship station of the New England Patriots. Pregame coverage begins at 11:30 a.m. with Patriots GameDay, kickoff is set for 4:25 p.m., and after the game switch to TV38 for full analysis and reaction on Patriots 5th Quarter!