ASHBURN, Virginia – Nick Rose hasn’t attempted a field goal in an NFL game. He already is well-known on social media, however, for his kicks at the University of Texas. And not because of anything he made in a game.
Rose, of course, can change all that Monday with a strong showing in his NFL debut with the Washington Redskins. Then, he could establish himself in the profession he wants rather than being known as a guy who made a field goal as he executed a backflip. Or the one who drilled an 80-yard kick during another offseason.
The backflip one was the first to get Rose noticed. In 2015, he said a kicker from another school posted a video of himself kicking off the holder’s facemask. A specialist from another school posted a video of their own trick kick. So, that June, he wanted to top the others.
“We had a lot of free time to bounce around ideas,” Rose said. “I could do a backflip and I said, ‘Let’s incorporate that.’ Trey Holtz was the holder and he said, ‘Dude, it would be cool if you could do a backflip and kick it in.’”
So that’s what he did, needing approximately 70 attempts as Rose did a backflip around the 5-yard line and Holtz tossed the ball in the air.
“It would ding off the crossbar or graze the bottom of the post or I’d have enough power but it would rocket it straight to the ground,” Rose said of earlier tries.
The 80-yarder was easier. He made the kick on a Saturday in July 2015.
“Everyone was putting videos out there like that,” he said. “I’ve been able to do that since high school. If people make a big deal out of it I might as well try to establish myself at the top and see what happens. I asked one of our receivers to come over and said, ‘Can you record this real quick?’ It took me like two tries.”
Sticking in the NFL has been harder. But don’t expect Rose to be worried about his inexperience. He pointed to two rookie kickers having good years: Kansas City’s Harrison Butker (13-of-14 on field goals) and Philadelphia’s Jake Elliott (12-of-14).
Rose made all of his field goals – approximately 20 -- during a workout last week to win the job, opened up when Dustin Hopkins injured his hip.
“You might be on the edge of being good enough, but if you don’t have the resume a lot of teams won’t go with you,” he said. “That’s the way the NFL is, you have to have either a great day or a proven record. I was lucky enough to have a great day.”
Now he has that chance; and his kicks Monday will receive a lot more attention than anything currently on YouTube. He did make a 55-yard field goal
for San Francisco in the preseason, but he was still cut. He also was released by Atlanta in 2016.
“Every kicker, no matter if you’re a 20-year guy like [Adam] Vinatieri or [Phil] Dawson or a young guy,” Rose said, “you’ll have an off game or off week or off season. What matters is preparation, resiliency. If you can mentally get through it, then anyone can be a great kicker in this league as long as you have the tools.”
Redskins coach Jay Gruden wasn’t thinking about backflip kicks. He’ll be happy with conventional success. He knows inexperience could be an issue.
“We’ll see when the lights come on,” Gruden said. “Sometimes you just don’t know until they come on but we’re going to find out. I’m hoping that he takes advantage of this great opportunity. He’s got a powerful leg and let’s see what he does.”