Kyle Brinza, Roberto Aguayo, and now Nick Folk. Names Bucs fans are ready to forget.
The kicking curse in Tampa continued as the Buccaneers fell to the New England Patriots 19-14 on Thursday night in front of a national television audience.
Folk was 0-for- 3 and just 2-of-7 in the past two games. Within the short week, Folk has missed six kicks in just five days. Thursday night’s game included misses from 31, 49, and 56.
Complimentary football, which is preached throughout the halls of Once Buc Place, but that wasn’t what was seen on Thursday night.
The abysmal performance by Folk was a big factor in the Bucs being 2-2 instead of 3-1.
Folk came to Tampa this year after posting a season where he made 87 percent of his tries. He wasn’t perfect throughout training camp and the preseason, but it was enough to beat out second round pick Roberto Aguayo. That said, most kickers would likely have beaten out Roberto Aguayo. And just like his predecessor it seems like Folk’s time in Tampa may be short lived. If the jeers he received from Tampa’s fans are any indication, they’re hoping he gets the boot.
Despite the poor performance, Folk’s teammates don’t seem ready to put him out to pasture just yet. Defensive tackle Clinton McDonald’s message to folk was a supportive one.
“You criticize lightly and encourage loudly,” McDonald said following the loss. ‘To Nick Folk, we’re behind you, we’re your teammates, and we love you. No matter what’s going on we love you. You’re our teammate, you’re our kicker, and we stand behind you.
Quarterback Jameis Winston, who praised Folk last week for kicking the game winner in another up and down performance, is confident his kicker will get back on track.
“Bounce back,” Winston said. “Bounce back. It’s not his fault. It’s not his fault. We were in a position to win the game – :02 seconds on the clock. Somebody needs to make a play.”
It’s true, the offense was in the position to win the game. However, this loss falls squarely on Folk’s shoulders. The 11-year veteran will tell you that himself.
“I had a bad week, starting last Sunday to today,” Folk said while standing in front on his locker following the loss. “I left points out there. We should have won this game 20-19. This one’s on me.”
Head coach Dirk Koetter, who has already had to cut one kicker this year, spoke on Folk’s future following the primetime loss to the defending champs.
“Jason [Licht] and I had a brief conversation afterward and that will be something that is forthcoming,” Koetter said. “You don’t want to make any rash decisions.”
It is likely that there will be a decision on Folk’s future by this weekend. In the past Jason Licht has shown confidence in his place kicker, but it’s probably a safe bet that any conversation he had with Koetter about Folk on Thursday night was not a positive one.
– Story by Austin DeWitt – Mark Cook contributed to this story
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org