Our beloved kicker has some competition. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed former New York Jet Mike Nugent. Although Bryant has been a solid kicker over the years, some friendly competition never hurts and Nugent is a decent one. The Ohio State alum has hit 81.5% of his field goals over his career. (H/T: R.J. Anderson)
John from Gang Green Nation, our New York Jets Blog, provides his take on Mike Nugent the player:
"I personally like Nugent. He really didn't kick much in 2008. In preseason he had been erratic. This came after an average 2007, but in '06 after a rough Week 1, he only missed one kick the rest of the year. That miss was from over 50 yards also. The guy got taken in the second round so he clearly has the potential to become one of the most accurate kickers in the game. Maybe I'm nuts, but because of his reputation coming out of school, I can't help but think what he showed in 2006 is the best indication of what he will become."
"In terms of kickoffs, if you are looking for a touchback machine, this is not your guy. His short kickoffs were a constant source of complaint from Jets fans. Part of this was by design. Mike Westhoff, the special teams coach, wanted Nugent to kick the ball higher than is typical so the coverage team would have an easier time limiting a big return. I wish I had the link, but I saw stats on hang time that bore this out. Still, his leg is below average off the tee"
It was only a one year deal so it's not like we are truly committed to the guy. I wish John had a better report about his kickoff power. I see this move as a way to provide Bryant with competition and in the event that the he falters (unlikely), the younger guy is there to pick him up. Thanks for the info John!