By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s been a focal point on the Patriots all summer long. A battle for a roster spot at a position where only one man can start. A heated, back-and-forth competition between an unproven rookie and an established veteran who played a big role in winning games for the team a year ago.READ MORE: The List Of Six Rookie Quarterbacks Who Have Beaten Bill Belichick's Patriots Is Insane
We’re talking, of course, about the kicker. (Were you thinking of something else?)
The kicking duties this summer have largely fallen on the shoulder of undrafted rookie Quinn Nordin, as the veteran Nick Folk has mostly been a spectator due to what he deemed as “a little bit of soreness.”
Nordin impressed in his debut, going 3-for-3 on field goals (including a 50-yarder) and going 1-for-2 on PATs. But his follow-up performance in Philly was a bit of a nightmare, with the rookie missing three kicks — two PATs and a chip shot field goal.
On Sunday night in the preseason finale, Folk got his first game action of the preseason, casually kicking a 41-yard field goal in the first quarter.READ MORE: Trent Brown Returns To Practice, But Kyle Van Noy Absent Again Friday
That would be Folk’s only action, as Nordin resumed kicking duties after that. Nordin was 1-for-1 on PATs and 2-for-3 on field goals, hitting a 48-yarder in the second quarter and a 37-yarder in the fourth quarter but missing a 54-yard attempt in the final minute of the game.
With roster cutdown day looming on Tuesday, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was asked Monday morning about Folk’s status and whether the kicking situation is resolved. Belichick said it’s been a competitive summer at the spot, and didn’t indicate one way or the other which way he’s leaning.
“Nick’s got a pretty good level of consistency since we’ve had him, and he’s been pretty steady, but his opportunities were a little bit less. We wanted to get some more opportunities to Quinn,” Belichick said. “So, we’ll see how all of that goes. But it was a very competitive spot, and it is a competitive spot. We obviously have to make a decision.”
Belichick concluded: “It’s good to have that kind of competition, to have good players competing.”
The 23-year-old Nordin was successful on just two of his five field goals in four games played for Michigan last year. He entered that final collegiate season having gone 40-for-53 on field goals in the previous three seasons. He also went 119-for-124 on PATs in college.MORE NEWS: Matt Judon Explains What He Means When He Says Patriots Let Him Be Matt Judon
Folk, 36, was 26-for-28 on field goals last year and 30-for-33 on PATs. He kicked a game-winning 50-yard field goal at the final horn to beat the Jets and a game-winning 51-yarder to do the same against the Cardinals.