No word if it will be Forbath, Folk or go-for-it on fourth down this Sunday.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The Patriots’ kicking situation has been the worst in the NFL this season.
It somehow got worse this week.
For the second straight day, the Pats practiced without a kicker Thursday, opening questions about their plans for Sunday’s game against the Chiefs. The team cut Kai Forbath on Monday after he missed an extra point in his debut last weekend. Forbath replaced Nick Folk, who was released last week after undergoing an emergency appendectomy.
Both players’ pads were resting in separate lockers at Gillette Stadium on Thursday. It’s unclear whether Folk will be healthy enough to play this weekend.
Pats long snapper Joe Cardona described the absence of a kicker this week as “minor” change, noting he and punter Jake Bailey were able to still able to practice on their own.
“It’s been an adjustment, but change is constant in the NFL,” Cardona said. “It’s about adapting and overcoming and preparing for whatever’s asked of us on Sunday.”
The Pats reportedly put in a claim for rookie kicker Chase McLaughlin on Wednesday after he was released by the 49ers. McLaughlin was instead awarded to the Colts, who have struggled with former Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri.
Other options for the Pats include re-signing Forbath or allowing rookie punter Jake Bailey to kick. Bailey made 12 of 16 field goals in college at Stanford. The top free-agent kickers available include Cody Parkey, Blair Walsh and Mike Nugent, whom the team released earlier this year.
With their roster full at 53 players, the Pats would have to cut a player or place one on injured reserve to make room for a new kicker. When the Patriots cut Forbath, they signed rookie defensive tackle Albert Huggins off the Eagles’ practice squad, an indication he will at least have a short-term role with the team.
It’s possible the Patriots could move into the weekend without a kicker and opt for fourth-down and 2-point conversions instead of kicking field goals and extra points. The Pats have gone 4-of-9 fourth downs and made 76 percent of their field goals, none longer than 44 yards. Bailey took over kickoff duties after Stephen Gostkowski went on IR in October, while Cardona continues to long snap in every setting.
“We’re just going to keep working on it and be ready for whatever’s thrown at us,” Cardona said.
Slater named Rooney award finalist
Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater is one of eight finalists for this year’s Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.
It’s the first time Slater has been named a finalist, after being nominated each of the past three seasons. Since 2014, the award has been presented annually to the NFL player who best demonstrates on-field sportsmanship, defined by the league as fair play, respect for the game and opponents and integrity in competition. The winner is determined by a vote of current NFL players.
The eight finalists were chosen by a panel of former NFL players from the NFL Legends Community, which this year was comprised of Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
Brady limited at practice
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was limited at practice Thursday due to toe and elbow injuries, according to the team’s latest practice report.
Brady was listed on the team’s original report Wednesday as a full participant. It was the first time Brady was known to be dealing with a toe injury. All eight players named on Wednesday’s report with Brady re-appeared on Thursday’s list. Only center Ted Karras (knee) and defensive lineman Byron Cowart (head) were non-participants.
Quarterback Cody Kessler was a new addition to the report due to illness. The team will release its final injury report for its upcoming home game against the Chiefs on Friday afternoon.
Sunday’s kickoff from Gillette Stadium is set for 4:25 p.m.