BY NICK ST. DENIS
Nick Folk had to earn his job this year -- four times. From April through August, the New York Jets brought in four different kickers to compete with the incumbent Folk for the team's lone gig.
First, he had to fight off youngsters Derek Dimke and Brett Maher. When that wasn't good enough, they put him up against veteran Billy Cundiff, and Folk ousted him. Then it was fellow veteran Dan Carpenter.
Now, Folk is scoring six times as many points as anyone on his own team.
The seven-year veteran has made all 19 of his field goal attempts through eight games this season, and his nine points were all the entire team could muster in a blowout loss to the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.
He made his lone 50-plus yard attempt in the loss and is 9-for-9 from 40-49 yards and 9-for-9 under 40 yards. Those kicks, plus his 12 extra points put his total at 69 points. The next highest-scoring players (not counting throws) are Kellen Winslow, Jeff Cumberland, Geno Smith and Jeremy Kerley, who each have been in the end zone twice.
Winslow, who is currently finishing up a suspension, has averaged 2.4 points a game. Folk leads the team by a mile with 8.6 and has three game-winning kicks in four victories.
It's also worth noting that Folk has been much-improved from a kickoff standpoint.
"We worked his technique a little bit in training camp and I just see a more consistent, powerful ball striker this year," Jets special teams coach Ben Kotwica told NewYorkJets.com last week.
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