FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- As much as he'd like to mentor Ross Martin, the promising rookie kicker from Duke, Nick Folk believes there has to be a limit to his generosity. After all, Martin is trying to take his job.
It's one of those awkward training-camp dynamics, and it's playing out this summer with the New York Jets. Folk wants to be The Nice Guy, but he also wants to stay employed. He's fighting for his livelihood. He and the undrafted free agent are locked in a kicking competition, and we all know the NFL is a cut-throat business.
Folk said he will try to help Martin in certain instances, but he admittedly will hold back.
"There are no backups, so it's tough," said Folk, the Jets' kicker since 2010. "You can't give away all your secrets. You just have to focus on what you have to focus on. I hate to say it, but that's how I've done it my whole career. You focus on yourself.
"It's a fine line to walk," he continued. "Talking with other veteran kickers, everyone is in the same boat. Everyone wants to keep their job for a long time. It's not like a DB where he can mentor a young guy and that guy can be the third or fourth corner. You can't do that. It's hard, it's hard."
Folk described Martin as friendly and quiet, with a strong leg. Because of the nature of the position, they spend a lot of time together during practice, off in their own kicking world. It's cordial, but competitive.
This isn't Folk's first competition.
Since 2010, the Jets have used at least two kickers in four of the six preseasons -- and Folk defeated them all even though his competitors were a combined 16-for-17 in field goals. A look back, including their field-goal stats:
2014: Folk (3-for-3) held off Andrew Furney (2-for-2), an undrafted rookie.
2012: Folk (5-for-5) outlasted Josh Brown (3-for-4) in a terrific competition.
Here he goes again, trying to show the Jets he still belongs at the age of 31. Folk likes the way he's kicking the ball. He goal is to "stack some good days on top of each other and build some good momentum." Martin is doing the same. The first game is Thursday night. It's competition on.