FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Patriots may not have settled on their replacement for kicker Stephen Gostkowski.
New England re-signed veteran Nick Folk on Monday, giving rookie fifth-round draft pick Justin Rohrwasser some competition for the job as the team moves into what coach Bill Belichick said was a “big week” for players to begin showing progress during the truncated training camp. Teams must trim their rosters to a league-mandated 53 players by Sept. 5.
“I think we’re in position, hopefully, to string some good days together and have a lot of little things start to fit together in the overall big picture,” Belichick said.
Whether that includes the 35-year-old Folk, a veteran of three other NFL teams, remains to be seen. He finished last season as New England’s kicker after Gostkowski played just four games before going on injured reserve in October and having season-ending hip surgery.
It started a merry-go-round at the position, with the Patriots using three different kickers over the rest of the season.
But Folk brought steadiness to the job, connecting on 14 of 17 field goals and all 12 of his extra points in seven games. It included him missing a week to have an emergency appendectomy.
Gostkowski was released in March, creating a full-time opening for the job for the first time since New England drafted him in 2006.
After kicking on the Patriots’ first day of padded practices last week, Rohrwasser went three straight workouts without attempting a kick in the presence of reporters. On the days he didn’t kick he worked on conditioning, either running or at times riding an exercise bike on the sideline.
Asked early last week about him not kicking during practices Belichick said Rohrwasser, like all rookies, was going through an acclimation process.
“We’ll see,” Belichick said when asked about his confidence in Rohrwasser. “That’s a process that we’re working through, as well — the snapper, kicker, holder operation — and obviously, he can kick off, too. We’ll see how all that goes.”
Asked again on Friday about Rohrwasser’s progress, Belichick remained vague.
“Everybody’s making progress,” he said.
Rohrwasser was back kicking on Monday, sharing attempts with Folk during situational scrimmage drills.
Both had success, each going 5 for 6 for the day.
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