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Nugent signing starts Giants kicking competition

Posted Aug 1, 2017

The Giants signed veteran kicker Mike Nugent to compete with Aldrick Rosas:


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Although he has never kicked in an NFL regular-season game, Aldrick Rosas was the only kicker on the Giants’ roster from the moment he signed with the team on Jan. 19 until this morning. That’s when the Giants signed another kicker, Mike Nugent, who has played in 158 NFL games, but was without a job since last December.

The two kickers - one 22 years old, the other 35 – are suddenly competing for the Giants’ kicking job. But today each of them made it seemed as if it’s an ideal situation.

>> PRACTICE NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS

“Mike is a great guy,” Rosas said after practice today. “I already got to talk to him a little bit and ask him questions about his whole career. It’s great to have him here. I am excited.”

“I feel like I can say the same thing,” Nugent said. “We were talking a little bit today about how it’s kind of like if you’re trying to run sprints. When you’re by yourself, you’re just running at your own pace. But if there are a few people next to you, it’s something where you can keep up with the other guy. I think both of us can keep an eye on each other and maybe he does something that I don’t feel like I do very well and can work on it, and vice versa. Hopefully, it’s one of those things where competition can bring out the best in both of us.”

Nugent certainly has an experience advantage. In 12 seasons with the Jets, Tampa Bay, Arizona, and Cincinnati, he made 236 of 292 field goal attempts (80.8%) and 344 of 355 extra point tries for 1,052 points. He has scored more than 100 points in a season six times. He also has experience kicking in the metropolitan area after playing his first four seasons with the Jets.

“I can’t say I know the stadium as much, because I didn’t kick in the new stadium (with the home team),” Nugent said. “I have kicked a few times there, but I do know how the wind works in there and how it works out here in the Meadowlands. It’s one of those things where I can try to remember some knowledge that I had back a few years ago.”

Rosas’ NFL experience consists of one preseason field goal last year for the Tennessee Titans. He knew at some point he’d have company on the field.

“When I got signed they said they wanted a young guy in and we are going to bring in two kickers,” Rosas said. “I always knew in the back of my mind to keep doing you, and keep working on what you can work on.”

While Rosas hopes to get established in the NFL, Nugent wants to regain his footing in the league after his mediocre 2016 season ended when he was released on Dec. 13. He missed six field goals and six extra points, both on 29 attempts. That prompted the team to cut ties three weeks before the end of his seventh season with the Bengals.

“It was tough,” Nugent said. “They gave me second chances. It wasn’t, ‘Miss one, and you’re out of here.’ I had just great support and I was always thankful to have that, but at the end of the day, you have to make kicks. I wasn’t doing that, so I can’t sit here and say, ‘Oh, I wish I had more time,’ or anything like that. I think it was something that was, at the time, it was probably what I deserved.”

Nugent has long said he wanted to kick in the NFL for 20 years. But as he worked out at his home in Arizona this offseason, he wondered if another team would give him an opportunity for season No. 13. Even if he doesn’t stick with the Giants, his name is back in the kickers’ circulation.

“I think it is important especially because, now going into my 13th year this year, you get the question of if you still want to keep kicking,” he said. “It’s never been in my mind to retire or anything like that. It’s something that other people may be thinking age-wise. I think it is important to get in camp and get a feel for the guys and be back out there and be doing everything that you would be doing as if it was just any other season.”

Rosas hopes to stay long enough to play in his first regular-season game. He said the arrival of Nugent has not changed his thought process.

“Every day I came out here trying to compete with the rest of the open spots around the league,” he said. “Having Mike out here, there is an extra guy I can talk to, that I can look at and emulate what he’s doing, little things like that. He’s a great veteran and it is great to have him out here. It’s good to see him go to work and see his work ethic and see if I can pick up some stuff.

“I feel like whenever you get two kickers together they kind of work off each other and kind of motivate each other - so if he makes one, I want to make one.”

If that’s how it goes, it could be a very good competition.