The New England Patriots have employed an elite kicker for the majority of Bill Belichick's 24-year tenure as head coach. But it looks like those days are over.
New England's decision to move on from veteran Nick Folk this offseason and spend a 2023 fourth-round draft pick on Chad Ryland hasn't panned out, to say the least. Ryland shanked a 35-yard chip shot with six seconds remaining in regulation Sunday at MetLife Stadium, blowing an opportunity to force overtime and sealing the Patriots' 10-7 loss to the lowly New York Giants.
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Ryland has made just 12 of 18 field goal attempts this season for a 66.7 percent success rate that ranks second-to-last in the NFL among kickers with at least 10 attempts. His six missed field goals are tied for the most in the NFL, and his inconsistent play drew a rare public call-out from Belichick on Monday morning.
"Chad's a very talented player, but this is two weeks in a row we've basically missed extra points," Belichick said on WEEI's The Greg Hill Show. "It's not good enough."
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Belichick's lack of faith in his rookie kicker was on display in the first quarter, when the Patriots had the ball on New York's 37-yard line but opted to punt instead of attempting a 54-yard field goal with Ryland. Considering Ryland has made just one of his three attempts of 50-plus yards this season, that conservative call may have been the right one.
There are a myriad of reasons why the Patriots are 2-9, but given how much Belichick values special teams, it's still unsettling that New England has one of the NFL's worst kickers after two-plus decades of success with Adam Vinatieri, Stephen Gostkowski and Folk.
Ryland is one of three players who earned a "Stock Down" label in Phil Perry's "Stock Watch" report for Week 12. See below for the full Stock Watch and check out the video above for Perry's full breakdown.
- Jabrill Peppers, S
- Rhamondre Stevenson, RB
- Christian Barmore, DT
- Mac Jones, QB
- Chad Ryland, K
- J.C. Jackson, CB