Before the news broke that the Jets were set to work out free agent kicker Kris Brown today, incumbent Nick Folk expressed confidence that he'd work through his recent struggles and said he was having a blast playing for head coach Rex Ryan. He also said the coach has been very supportive.
"He's a lot of fun to play for," Folk said of Ryan, who reportedly does not plan to sign Brown and will thus keep Folk in the lineup for Monday night's game against the Patriots. "He'll ask you, 'What's the range [of a given kick], can you hit it, and he has full confidence if you say you can hit it. He proved that in the Denver game."
Folk kicked a career-best 56-yard field goal in a 24-20 win over the Broncos last month.
"[Ryan] has been very positive," Folk said. "He just tries to keep you going in the right direction and the right path. Everyone in this organization is trying to do the same. Not everyone is going to have a good game every game. People try to push you along in the right direction."
But Folk has struggled in recent weeks, missing three field goals against the Browns after kicking the game-tying goal at the end of regulation and then the game winner in overtime in Detroit.
Folk missed a 44-yard attempt in last Thursday's win over the Bengals, and an extra point attempt hit the left upright before bouncing through. Ryan said in a radio interview that the extra point had him concerned.
"When you miss the field goal, that's one thing," Ryan said on his weekly radio segment with 1050 ESPN Radio host Michael Kay. "But when he hit the upright on the extra point, it's like, 'Nick, come on, you can kick it left-footed and kick it through there."
Folk knows there's always a chance the game will come down to a field goal attempt, and he said he'll be ready in the event of that scenario in Monday's game against the Patriots in Foxboro.
"You put yourself mentally through it during the week," Folk said. "If it comes down to it, I have to do whatever I can to help the team win. But we'll take a win whatever way we can get it."
Folk said he hasn't been too hard on himself during his recent slump.
"I felt pretty good," he said. "The [field goal attempt] last week was one of the only ones I didn’t hit well. The 53-yarder against Houston, I hit that right down the middle and I was pushing the edge of the range for that game. I’m not upset about that one. I feel pretty good. I still try to go out there and be confident in what I can do and have some fun out there."
When I asked if he ever had any "here-we-go-again" reminders of last year's struggles, when a hip injury eventually caused so many problems with his mechanics that the Cowboys ultimately released him, Folk said he didn't.
"I'm not that type of person," he said. "I'll think about what happened, analyze the kick, and see why it happened and I'm like, 'Ok, that kick's done with. We'll fix whatever was wrong with that one and move along from there.'"