Who will kick off for Patriots? Punter Jake Bailey says he’ll gladly do it

“It’s been a part of my game ever since I’ve been at Stanford."

Jake Bailey has been booming punts for the Patriots; are kickoffs next? file/Ron Schwane

FOXBOROUGH — If Patriots punter Jake Bailey is asked to assume kickoff duties Sunday against the Redskins, the 22-year-old rookie will happily oblige.

“I’m comfortable with it,’’ Bailey said Friday at Gillette Stadium. “Coach [Bill Belichick], I feel like trusts me with it. I’m ready to go.’’

With veteran kicker Stephen Gostkowski placed on injured reserve, the Patriots will have to turn to either Bailey or newly signed Mike Nugent to handle kickoffs. Bailey, who gained plenty of experience in the role at Stanford, said the three keys to the job are distance, hang time, and direction.

Oh, and serving as the last line of defense should a returner gain steam.


“Stick your nose in there and make sure there are no open holes,’’ Bailey said.

Belichick didn’t say which player will be kicking off Sunday, but Bailey presents a compelling choice. During his senior season at Stanford last year, 60 of Bailey’s 72 kickoffs were touchbacks and only two of the 72 went out of bounds. He averaged 62.7 yards per kick, which is not too far off from Gostkowski’s 64.9-yard average.

Earlier in the spring, Bailey had expressed an openness to kicking off if given the opportunity.

“It’s been a part of my game ever since I’ve been at Stanford,’’ he said. “It’s something I would like to continue.’’

Nugent didn’t speak to the media Friday, his second day in Foxborough. The 37-year-old veteran kicked off 14 times with the Oakland Raiders last season, averaging 61.3 yards per kick. Six were touchbacks and none went out of bounds.

Bailey called Nugent a “really nice guy,’’ and said they are working on developing chemistry. As a holder, Bailey said one of his priorities is to discern Nugent’s preferences with ball tilt and lean because each kicker often likes things a different way.

The transition is certainly a quick one, but Bailey seemed optimistic about the situation. Plus, he noted Gostkowski is still around to offer pointers.


“We’ve all been kicking for a lot of our lives,’’ Bailey said. “When you go out and practice in the offseason, you’re kicking with a bunch of different kickers. That’s good practice, getting used to different guys.’’

Newly acquired kicker Mike Nugent (left) was at Friday’s practice.

Edelman questionable

For the second straight week, wide receiver Julian Edelman is questionable with a chest injury.

Edelman on Friday said he is feeling “good,’’ though he also argued nobody in the NFL is feeling 100 percent at this point in the season.

“It’s football,’’ he said. “When you’re compounding weeks, it’s a dangerous sport. It’s 100-percent injury rate. We all know that . . . that’s part of the game. You can go out and ask everyone here. They don’t feel like they felt in May.’’

Also questionable for Sunday’s game are running back Rex Burkhead (foot), safety Patrick Chung (heel), safety Nate Ebner (groin), and linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder). Wide receivers Josh Gordon (knee) was removed from the injury report.

Boilermaker brothers

Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley called it a blessing to be playing in the same city as Celtics rookie Carsen Edwards. Both players attended Purdue, overlapping for two seasons, and refer to each other as “brothers.’’ Edwards even stopped by training camp in August. “Him being closer, it’s definitely good for both of us,’’ Bentley said. “Him being able to come to training camp and things like that, it’s awesome. I’m excited that he’s out here.’’ . . . Another day, another kicker. The Patriots officially added Younghoe Koo to the practice squad. Koo, 25, was with the Chargers for four games in 2017, when he was 3 of 6 on field goals (with a long of 41) and 9 of 9 on extra points. Koo, whose first name is pronounced Young Way, played for the Atlanta Legends of the AAF this year and the Georgia Southern product holds the distinction of scoring the league’s first points — a 38-yard field goal.