Cincinnati Bengals: Was Re-Signing Mike Nugent the Right Move?
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On Sunday afternoon, the Cincinnati Bengals officially announced the re-signing of placekicker Mike Nugent to a two-year deal. This move ultimately ended the short-lived tenure of Josh Brown in Cincinnati.
Adam Schefter made it known to the football world quickly after sending this tweet:
Bengals announced they re-signed K Mike Nugent.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 10, 2013
Brown was a fan favorite during the Bengals' playoff run at the end of the 2012 season. Many fans wanted to see the Bengals stick with Brown and allow Nugent to walk in free agency. So, was re-signing Nugent instead of Brown a good move?
This topic can be highly debated in favor of each kicker. Let's take a look at some of the highlights and shortcomings of each kicker to determine who should have stayed in Cincinnati.
Nugent has been with the Bengals for three years now after stints with the New York Jets, Arizona Cardinals and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The largest cause for concern with Nugent is his inability to stay healthy.
Injuries caused Nugent's time with the Jets to end abruptly and he had a difficult time linking up with another franchise until the Bengals picked him up in 2010.
Still, even in Cincinnati, Nugent's struggles with injuries continued. In his three years with the club, he has only played one full season; he ended the other two on injured reserve.
Despite these concerns, Nugent has been a steadfast kicker that has connected on close to 84 percent of his field goals with the Bengals. Before his season-ending injury in 2012, Nugent connected on 19 of 23 field goals (82.6 percent) with a long of 55 yards.
Also, Nugent has age on his side. He is currently the younger of these two kickers at 31 years of age. Being younger should allow him to recover from injury quickly. Nugent had this to say about his recent recovery:
I think it was a case where the mind wants to do more than the body can allow. You get the competitive juices going, and that's how the mind works. I should have been more patient. I've just gone into this offseason working hard enough to make sure it doesn't happen again. I think for a guy that works as hard I do, that shouldn't happen and I'm trying to make sure it won't again.
Brown came in to kick in Nugent's place during the final four games of the season in the midst of a playoff run. He was an immediate success, as he connected on 11 of 12 field goals in that time frame.
Brown was certainly on fire late last season, connecting on 91.7 percent of his field goals with the Bengals. However, that kind of accuracy had never been associated with Brown before last year.
During his 10 NFL seasons, Brown has been very streaky when it comes to field-goal percentage. He has had outstanding years (in 2004, he connected on 92 percent of his field goals), but he has had some down years as well (the following season, he only hit 72 percent of his field goals).
The big question mark for this kicker is, which Josh Brown were Bengals going to get if he was re-signed? On one hand, he could pick right up where he left off and put up great numbers. On the other hand, the streaky kicker could lose his touch and cost the Bengals some much-needed points.
Which kicker should the Bengals have retained for 2013?
It appears that the Bengals are happy with the recovery process of Nugent and are willing to gamble that he can stay healthy for the duration of a full season and continue to post great numbers.
Brown certainly did a great job with the club last season, but he lost out to Nugent most likely due to his streaky kicking history.
It will all come down to Nugent's health in 2013. If he can make it through the season and keep up his great kicking percentage with the club, then the Bengals will have made the correct decision.
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