Buccaneers kicker Nick Folk missed three field goals in his team’s five-point loss to the Patriots on Thursday night. We’ve already learned that the team will be auditioning several free agent kickers this week, and Folk acknowledged that this is all part of the business.
“You have to be able to evaluate yourself, look at it and improve, learn, see what went wrong, make the corrections and move forward,” he told ESPN.com’s Jenna Laine. “Just go out there and swing. Don’t make it too hard. It’s not real hard when you get down to it.”
After connecting on more than 87-percent of his field goal attempts last season, Tampa Bay opted for the veteran over former second-rounder Roberto Aguayo. So far, Folk has only made six of his 11 attempts, and coach Dirk Koetter told Laine that he’s been surprised about the player’s struggles.
“When we decided on Nick as our kicker — I’ve told you guys this many times — whoever our kicker is, I’ve got total confidence in him,” Koetter said. “I think Nick was kicking very well up until a week ago. He had a rough day against the Giants, he came back, and the one day we kicked in practice [this week] he kicked very, very well. We had no reason to think Nick wasn’t going to kick well last night.
“There are a couple there that you’re expecting him to make. When I say, ‘We’re disappointed today’ at opportunities that we missed, that’s at a lot of different positions. That’s certainly one.”
Let’s check out some more notes from around the NFC…
- 49ers running back Carlos Hyde is on pace to have one of his best NFL seasons, as he currently owns a career-high 4.9-yard-per-carry mark. Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com observes that the 27-year-old is having this success on a contract year, and it could lead to a hefty contract. Of course, part of the player’s improvement can be attributed to getting into shape, as general Manager John Lynch said on 95.7 The Game. “He got lighter and in much better shape. It’s showing. It’s paying dividends on the field. So we’re thrilled with the way he’s playing. He’s got to continue to do it,” Lynch said (via Cam Inman of MercuryNews.com).
- Eagles running back Wendell Smallwood is set to miss tomorrow’s game, which would currently leave the team with LeGarrette Blount, Corey Clement, and Kenjon Barner. Eliot Shorr-Parks of NJ.com notes (via Twitter) that none of those players are threats in the passing game, so he wonders if the team could promote Byron Marshall from the practice squad. The Oregon product appeared in three games last season, collecting three receptions for ten yards and 19 carries for 64 yards.
- In case you missed it, second-round rookie defensive tackle Malik McDowell — who suffered a severe concussion in a July September ATV accident — could potentially return to the Seahawks this season.