Mike Nugent Narrows Kicking Race With Solid Night

New York Giants kicker Mike Nugent converted a 54-yard fourth-quarter field goal that turned out to be the winning edge in the New York Giants’ 32-31 win over the New York Jets on Saturday night at MetLife Stadium.

Time will only tell if it’s the winner in the Giants’ kicking competition as well.

Nugent got the lion’s share of work in Saturday’s game. In addition to his two successful field goal attempts, he handled four kickoffs and one extra point.

“(Nugent) kicked the heck out of the football today,” Giants head coach Ben McAdoo said. “He made a nice long one there for us on the 36-yard line. That’s big for us. Both kickers did a nice job today.”

Aldrick Rosas, Nugent’s competition, likewise remained perfect with field goal conversion in the preseason. He made a 24-yarder in the opening quarter, and also had two extra points and three kickoffs

With the performance by both Rosas and Nugent, the Giants kicking competition seems no closer to being resolved with one preseason game left to go.

“We’re both kicking the ball very well,” Rosas said after the Giants’ preseason debut on August 11. “There’s a lot of questions I can ask him about, you know, how to warm up pregame. We’re bouncing back and forth from each other and we’re both competing and we’re both doing great.”

Nugent and Rosas are a combined 9-for-9 on field goals in the preseason, with Nugent hitting five, and Rosas getting four. The winner of the competition will be the Giants’ fourth different kicker over their past 17 games.

“I can’t really speak for Aldrick, but (the competition) has been a lot of fun, I think,” Nugent said. “I think we are both learning a lot from each other. At the end of the day, we only won by a point tonight, but it’s good we had all the points put on the board for our opportunities.”

A former second-round pick of the Jets in 2005, Nugent spent the past seven seasons with the Bengals before a dismal 2016 season, in which he missed six extra points and six field goals, led to his release in December. He was signed to the Giants on August 1.

By contrast, Rosas has yet to kick in a regular-season NFL game, getting just one kick in four preseason games last year with the Titans, making a single 33-yarder in Tennessee’s preseason opener. The former Southern Oregon kicker signed a reserve/future contract with the Giants in January.

Rosas’ longest field goal thus far this summer has been a 52-yard strike in the preseason opener against Pittsburgh.

Last season’s kicking duties were handled by Josh Brown, Randy Bullock and Robbie Gould, the latter two subbing in for Brown in the wake of his domestic violence revelations. Bullock ironically ended up replacing Nugent in Cincinnati, while Gould signed with San Francisco this offseason.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490