Patriots put rookie kicker on notice with free-agent workouts
The New England Patriots kicker situation is getting more interesting.
It seems as though Bill Belichick and the Patriots coaching staff are frustrated with rookie kicker Chad Ryland, who is struggling to the tune of just 66.7 percent on field goal tries (12-of-18), a rate that ranks him 31st out of 32 qualifying kickers.
Ryland reached a new low last Sunday, when he pulled a 35-yarder way left to blow his chance to tie the game against the New York Giants. Instead, the Pats fell to 2-9 on the season.
Asked on Wednesday whether Ryland will remain the Patriots kicker for Week 13 against the Los Angeles Chargers, the ever-evasive Belichick replied, “He’s on the roster, yeah.”
In what smells like a reaction to Ryland’s issues, the Patriots have worked out five free-agent kickers this week, in addition to three wide receivers, three punters, and two long snappers. Here’s the full list of workouts, as first reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss:
K Tanner Brown (Oklahoma St)
K Matthew McCrane (Kansas State)
K B.T. Potter (Clemson)
K John Parker Romo (Virginia Tech)
K Parker White (South Carolina)
WR Kaylon Geiger (Texas Tech
WR Kalil Pimpleton (Central Michigan)
WR Matthew Sexton (Eastern Michigan)
P Michael Turk (Oklahoma)
P Corliss Waitman (South Alabama)
P Ty Zentner (Kansas State)
LS Dalton Godfrey (South Dakota)
LS Carson Tinker (Alabama)
There’s a familiar name on that list: Corliss Waitman spent 2023 training camp with the Patriots, then four weeks on the practice squad, before being released in October. The fact that the Patriots worked out free agents at every position on the kicking operation is a sign that they’re sending a message to those guys: it’s just not good enough.
As for the wide receivers, they appear to be potential additions for special teams, rather than the offense. Kaylon Geiger, for example, played 19 special teams snaps in three games with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2022, compared to just nine on offense.
The Patriots also brought in a free-agent quarterback for a workout this week, as well as multiple tight ends and a cornerback. Read more about those free agents below…