10:47 to go in the 4th quarter a 52 yard FG attempt would have been child’s play for New England’s Gostowski. Coach Bill Belichick passed, and punted with the lead. 52 yards is only 3 longer than 49 where Nick Folk missed from last night, when with 4th and 2 the Bucs COULD have gone for it.
Of course second guessing the call based on the result is something Ive never been a big fan of. But ill tell you what I am a fan of: making common sense calls, and using your head not your heart to make decisions.
Lets look at some of the facts:
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-2
Folk was 2 of 4 last week:
- He pushed a 46 yarder just right from left hash.
- He pushed a 49 yarder just right from the left hash.
- This is after being perfect in practice kicks including a 58 yard one. Folk missed an extra point also pushed just right from left hash.
When Folk misses, the announcers quickly bring up how the Bucs are snakebit and over exaggerate the situation. If the Bucs had not experienced the whole Aguayo story, including the trading of the pick for him, the drafting of him so high, and all the misses.
Yes, the Bucs lost the game because Nick Folk missed a kick he should have. But he only missed ONE kick he should have, the last one, the 31 yard attempt. Your probably screaming right now “FOLK WAS 0-3!! THATS 9 points”!! No… and here is a big mistake on coach Dirk Koetter – at the end of the half, going for a super long 56 yard kick that most kickers are 50-50 on. That kick skews the results.
Look, Im no Nick Folk fan; he was brought here to add some competition for Roberto Aguayo to get his head back into the game. It didn’t work, and after one bad game, Bucs front office had seen enough and dumped Aguayo. Folk was probably never part of the plan.
To be fair, Folk has never been a great kicker. He’s a career 80% kicker, down to 73% in the months of November and December, when the kicks count the most. Trust me, this was no free agent score. So when you trot this guy out for a 56 yarder at home in front of home fans who boo’d the Kid Aguayo at CAMP after missing extra points in a preseason game… you set him up for failure: Kicking in the NFL is mental, not fundamental, and certainly not fun when your in a rut. (See Below for one the Bucs better kickers in recent history; Connor Barth)
So you want to cut Nick Folk around 8am this morning? Great.. Week 6 in the NFL, how many good kickers do you think are floating around unclaimed? No… you can’t succumb to emotional response, you have to use your head.
Here’s what happens…
This is what NFL Free Agent Field Goal Kickers look like after you decide emotionally that Nick Folk will miss 80% of his kicks the rest of the year….
So then you Cut Nick Folk, and everyone is happy….then you have to go out and sign a kicker to kick the rest of the year, in all the big games you expect the Bucs to have.. here is what the pool of kickers looks like now..
I play DFS on a daily basis, one of the key features to winning in DFS is understanding Positive and Negative regression.
Nick Folk has been in the NFL for over 10 years; he is a veteran kicker; he is the opposite of Aguayo. He has battled slumps before and as an 80% kicker, he is now going to more than likely go on a tear of accuracy to move the meter back up to 80%. Folk is NOT the rookie Roberto, he’s not an untested rookie, the dude kicked at a 87% clip last year, which is probably where this negative regression is coming from. Its all about numbers, nothing is about chance; you flip a coin 100 times, its going to go 50-50 Tails to heads ratio. Some points, heads will go on a 10-0 tear. Its not a conspiracy with the universe going all heads up, its just as likely you’ll see 3-1 tails several times coming up soon. Positive Regression.
END OF THE LINE; Jan Stenerud or MARTIN GRAMATICA ?
Sometimes kickers fade off the charts from surgeries or injury like Martin Gramatic who kicked the Bucs crazy accurate. If not an injury, an NFL kicker will maintain his accuracy level until well into his 40s. Morten Anderson, Garo Yepremien, Eddie Murray, Jason Elam, Mark Moseley (A TOE KICKER) John Carney and many more. Their distance diminished, and accuracy decreased slightly from lack of strength. But their accuracy maintained, and Folk should stay around until the offseason when you can target another kicker with a better chance of a being “The Answer”.
How about a History Lesson? Subject Connor Barth
In 2009, Connor Barth missed his first kick with Bucs wide right (38 yards), three games later he missed a 51 yard kick Wide Right, the following game he missed two more, hitting the left upright on a 36 harder and Wide Right on a 42 yard kick. Two games later after making one kick, Barth missed his first kick of the game, 38 harder hitting the right upright. Sandwiched in between the first three games, Barth hit three FGs in a row against Miami. Overall, this description sounds like a kicker far worse than Folk. Barth went on to nail three in a row to upset the Seattle Seahawks on the road, then kicked 2 of 2 to help upset the Saints, winning 2 of 3 games that helped the 2009 Bucs go into 2010 with an attitude and accomplish a 10-6 record.