The New England Patriots have made Nick Folk their starting kicker. They promoted him to the 53-man roster on Tuesday, and intend to play him on Sundays for the foreseeable future, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Folk had been in a training camp position battle with kicker Justin Rohrwasser, a 2020 fifth-round pick, but the Patriots are apparently more comfortable riding with Folk. They kept the veteran on the expanded practice squad for Week 1, and he was one of the two players who were promoted for game action only, a new provision during COVID.
Folk missed a 45-yard kick but hit his three extra point attempts in the team’s season opener against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Last week, the #Patriots elevated kicker Nick Folk to the active roster before the game from the practice squad. Now, they are officially signing him to the 53-man, source said. So he won’t go back down to the PS, he’ll stay up and kick.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2020
Folk filled in for Stephen Gostkowski in 2019 after he suffered a season ending hip injury. Folk was 14 of 17 on field goals and he hit all 12 of his extra point attempts in 2019.
Authentic set as 9-5 favorite at masked Preakness draw
Kentucky Derby winner Authentic was installed as the 9-5 morning line favorite for the Preakness and drew the No. 9 post position at the draw Monday that lacked the usual fanfare of owners and trainers packing into a crowded tent in the infield at Pimlico Race Course.
Authentic’s trainer, Bob Baffert, is undefeated taking the Derby winner to the Preakness, which will be run Saturday without fans. Baffert is looking for his record-breaking eighth Preakness victory.
Track announcer Dave Rodman announced the post positions for the field of 11 horses wearing a mask, while those pulling the pills to determine them were seated – socially distanced and masked – nearby.
Art Collector, who was scratched from the Derby, appears to be the biggest threat to Authentic and is the 5-2 second choice on the morning line out of post No. 3.
Baffert’s other entry, Thousand Words, and filly Swiss Skydiver are next at 6-1. Thousand Words drew the No. 5 post and Swiss Skydiver the No. 4 as she looks to be the sixth filly to win the Preakness and first since Rachel Alexandra in 2009.
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
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Will Nick Foles be special for Chicago Bears?
With two minutes remaining and his Chicago Bears trailing Atlanta by three, Nick Foles lined up at the Falcons’ 28-yard line and read an all-out blitz coming. He immediately audibled to deal with the coming pressure — Atlanta would indeed rush six.
Only there was a twist. Just prior to the play, during the two-minute warning timeout, Foles had told receiver Anthony Miller that if a checkout came, Miller should run a simple route.
“Get to the ‘L’,” Foles said, meaning the “L” in “ATL” painted in the Falcons’ end zone. The pass would arrive there.
“And it’ll be a pretty stiff ball,” Foles warned.
Miller did as he was told, running a designed-on-the-fly backyard-football route. As he arrived at the L, so did the ball, launched by Foles just a fraction of a second before he was buried by linebacker Mykal Walker.
Miller caught it, Chicago took a 30-26 lead it wouldn’t relinquish and the Legend of Nick Foles got itself another chapter.
“That’s a fun way to win a game,” Foles said.
Foles will start Sunday against Indianapolis, according to coach Matt Nagy, which will make Chicago the fifth NFL team he’s started a game for, and that includes two stints in Philadelphia. He relieved a struggling Mitchell Trubisky in the third quarter against Atlanta and promptly turned a 23-10 hole into a Chicago victory, bringing the Bears to an unlikely 3-0 on the season.
The Trubisky benching was both deserved and also lightning quick, which suggests Nagy may have been eager to move on from the former No. 2 overall pick despite winning the season’s first two games. Foles was probably always the inevitable plan this year. That they got to him while remaining undefeated is a bonus.
Now the question is: What do Foles and Chicago do with it?
There are few NFL careers more confounding than the one Foles is rolling through. He was named Super Bowl MVP after outdueling Tom Brady in Philly’s classic upset three seasons ago in a game where he delivered 373 yards and three touchdown passes and one “Philly Special” touchdown receiving.
He made a Pro Bowl in 2013, throwing seven scores in one game that season, and he routinely pulls off plays like “Get to the ‘L’” that you’d expect from Patrick Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers.
Yet across nine seasons with five teams (Philly, Kansas City, St. Louis, Jacksonville and Chicago) he’s never been able to seize control of a starting job, either because of inaccuracy, turnovers or injuries. For every burst of magic, there is the return to the mean that suggests he’s nothing more than a very capable back-up. Teams tend to want him, then not so much. He’s been traded three times, always as part of some mid-to-late-round draft swaps.
After the 2015 season in St. Louis, where he completed just 56.4 percent of his passes and threw more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (7), he strongly considered retiring and finding a new profession.
Football was no longer fun. It certainly had never been easy. He played high school ball in Texas but the local schools showed little interest. He went to Michigan State but couldn’t crack the lineup. He transferred to Arizona and wound up drafted in the third round. Now, though, he was just a bad QB with no guarantees for the future.
He went fishing, prayed on it and decided to give it another crack. A year in Kansas City led to a return to Philly and that improbable Super Bowl playoff run.
Since then, though, he has lost starting QB battles to Carson Wentz, Gardner Minshew and, just a month ago, Trubisky.
So which is the real Nick Foles, as he returns with another golden opportunity to show the league that he is more than just its most famous mop-up guy? When you start 3-0 — no matter how you start 3-0 — you have an inside track on the playoffs, especially as they’ve expanded this season. Chicago should be thinking big.
Foles will have to be a lot better than he was against Atlanta. Winning tends to smooth everything over, but he was just 16 of 29 for 188 yards. There were three touchdowns, against one pick, and that brilliant audible that comes from Foles’ deep confidence, but the warning light should still be flashing.
Foles’ accuracy has long been a problem — a career 61.8 completion percentage. So has his touchdowns-to-interception ratio — 74 to 36. He tends to get banged up often and struggles once defensive coordinators can plan for him.
Still, he’s the kind of guy who subs in and switches the offense on the biggest play of the game. He’s the back-up who spent the fourth quarter walking up and down the Bears sideline reminding everyone that the comeback was possible (and his teammates believed him).
“It’s one play at a time …” Foles said after.
That’s Nick Foles at his best, always believing even in the face of doubt, deficits and a blitz. And so now comes one more time for an opportunity to prove he is more than a guy who is so great when little is expected, only to be so befuddling when a lot is.
In his sixth starting stint with his fifth team, can Nick Foles be special in Chicago?
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