5 Patriots on the Hot Seat Over Final Four Games of Season

Unless these Patriots turn things around down the stretch, don't count on their having much of a future in New England.
Head coach Bill Belichick is one of five Patriots on the hot seat over the final four games.
Head coach Bill Belichick is one of five Patriots on the hot seat over the final four games. / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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5. Chad Ryland

The Patriots made several changes over the offseason, including shaking up the kicking situation.

New England moved up at the 2023 NFL Draft to select Chad Ryland 112th overall, who soon became the starter when Nick Folk ended up being traded to the Tennessee Titans for a 2025 seventh-rounder in August. Considering all of Folk's experience, it was clear that the Pats had a lot of confidence in their rookie special teamer.

Unfortunately, it's beginning to look like the Patriots should've used that fourth-round pick on someone else back in April.

As of Week 14, Ryland has only connected on 66.7% of his field goal attempts. That's tied with Matt Ammendola for the second-worst in the NFL, only trailing Graham Gano (64.7%). The rookie kicker has also missed several crucial kicks throughout the season, including two of his three attempts from 50-plus yards.

Furthermore, the Patriots' 66.7% touchback percentage ranks 10th-worst league-wide, which drops to 61.9% at Gillette Stadium.

What hurts even more is that Folk has been balling out for the Titans. The 39-year-old kicker has nailed 96.0% (24-of-25) of his FG attempts with his lone miss coming from 51 yards out. That's without mentioning how his 56.6% touchback rate is the second-highest mark of his 16-year career.

Unless Ryland looks like prime Adam Vinatieri over the final four games, I won't be surprised if the Patriots explore other kicking options this offseason.

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