Mike Nugent

Cardinals Move Gonzalez, Phillips To IR

Mike Nugent looks set to continue as Arizona’s kicker for the foreseeable future. The Cardinals placed Zane Gonzalez on IR on Saturday and promoted Nugent from their practice squad.

The Cardinals gave Nugent a chance to kick in a 16th NFL season last week, calling on him to replace an injured Gonzalez. With Saturday’s transaction sidelining Gonzalez for the rest of the regular season, the 38-year-old Nugent will receive more opportunities to help the Cards into the playoffs for the first time in five years.

Gonzalez has struggled this season, having seen a game-tying field goal from inside 50 yards fall short against the Dolphins and having missed five other field goals (16-for-22) in his third Cardinals campaign. The former Browns kicker, down because of a back injury, will be eligible to return for Arizona’s playoff game — should the Cards qualify. Nugent made 4 of 4 field goals in the Cards’ win over the Giants last week.

Joining Gonzalez on IR for the next three weeks: Jordan Phillips. The pricey free agent acquisition will head to IR for the second time this season. Because this is Phillips’ second time on IR, his season is over.

Phillips has dealt with a balky hamstring this season. He returned from IR last week to play against the Giants, but a setback will sideline a key Cards defender for the team’s most critical stretch of games in years. The Cardinals now have D-linemen Phillips, Corey Peters and Josh Mauro on IR.

Arizona also activated tight end Darrell Daniels off IR and promoted running back D.J. Foster and linebacker Terrance Smith.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Activate DL Jordan Phillips, Promote K Mike Nugent

The Cardinals announced a list of transactions this afternoon, including the activation of defensive lineman Jordan Phillips from injured reserve. The team also activated cornerback Kevin Peterson from IR, placed cornerback Johnathan Joseph on IR, released defensive lineman Trevon Coley, and promoted tight end Seth DeValve and kicker Mike Nugent from the practice squad.

Following a 9.5-sack campaign with the Bills in 2019, Phillips got a three-year deal from Arizona this offseason. While he started eight games for the Cardinals, his production took a dip, as he had only 10 tackles and a pair of sacks through the first two-plus months of the season. With his playing time already diminished, Phillips landed on injured reserve back in November with a hamstring injury.

Joseph, 36, was released by the Titans back in November. He quickly caught on with the Cardinals, and he’s collected three tackles and one pass defended through four games. The veteran hadn’t appeared in more than 20 percent of his team’s defensive snaps in any of his four games, and he was added to the injury report this week with a neck ailment. Peterson, 26, will be taking Joseph’s spot on the roster, with the Oklahoma State product having appeared in 22 games for the Cardinals over the past two seasons.

With starting kicker Zane Gonzalez ruled out for tomorrow’s game against the Giants with a back injury, Arizona is turning to Nugent. The 38-year-old joined the Cardinals practice squad back in September, and with Gonzalez connecting on only 72.7 percent of his field goals this season, Nugent could be auditioning for the full-time gig. Nugent got into four games with the Patriots last season, connecting on five of his eight field goal attempts and 15 of his 16 extra point tries.

DeValve, a 2016 fourth-round pick, joined the Cardinals practice squad last month and was promoted to the active roster last week. In 54 career games (16 starts), DeValve’s hauled in 60 receptions for 736 yards and four touchdowns. Coley, 26, started 29 games for the Browns between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. He’s appeared in 13 games since that time, compiling 20 tackles and one sack.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Cardinals Add K Mike Nugent To Practice Squad

Zane Gonzalez might be hearing footsteps. Or, perhaps, he just has some backup. On Friday, the Cardinals signed veteran kicker Mike Nugent to the practice squad, per a club announcement.

Nugent first made his Cardinals debut over a decade ago in 2009, appearing in a pair of games. Now 38, he owns a career 81% field goal completion rate across 168 games. Last year, he had a cup of coffee with the Patriots as a part of their revolving door of kickers. The veteran converted five of eight FGs with the Pats, who released him after a pair of missed field goals against the Browns. The Patriots won that October contest to advance to 8-0, but Bill Belichick wasn’t taking any chances.

Gonzalez, meanwhile, missed two of his three field goal tries in the season opener. Still, the one he converted on was from 56 yards out, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury says he’s “very comfortable” with the 25-year-old.

After topping the Niners in Week 1, the Cardinals will look to go 2-0 this Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

Patriots To Release K Mike Nugent

The Patriots are cutting kicker Mike Nugent, sources tell The MMQB’s Albert Breer (on Twitter). Nugent’s replacement is TBD, but we know this much: The Pats will be moving on to their third kicker of the 2019 season.

The Patriots worked out other kickers before signing Nugent this year, including Giorgio Tavecchio, Nick Folk, Greg Joseph, and Austin MacGinnis. They could circle back to those names, or bring in a new group of kickers, as they look to sort out the situation.

Nugent went 5-of-8 on field goals during his short Patriots run, but it was his two misses against the Browns that cost him his job. The Patriots still won and advanced to 8-0, but head coach Bill Belichick decided he was through with Nugent anyway.

The Pats’ search for a new kicker, in theory, could lead them to Matt Bryant. The veteran, who was cut loose by the Falcons on Tuesday, could give them an experienced option in crunch time.

Patriots To Sign Mike Nugent

It appears that the Patriots’ kicking competition has come to a close. Mike Nugent will likely be signed as the club’s replacement for the injured Stephen Gostkowski, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (on Twitter).

As Garafolo notes, Nugent’s teams have gone 0-for-5 in the playoffs, so this could be Nugent’s best possible opportunity to taste postseason victory. Across 14 seasons, Nugent has nailed 81.4% of his field goals – a rate that isn’t on a par with Gostkowski’s career work. Then again, few kickers can rival the storied career of Gostkowski.

Nugent spent three games with the Raiders last year and nailed all six of his tries. Before that, the 37-year-old kicked for the Jets, Bengals, Bears, and Cowboys.

Patriots Work Out Five Kickers

The Patriots are in need of a new kicker after placing Stephen Gostkowski on injured reserve earlier today, and they worked out five free agents on Wednesday. New England took a look at Kai Forbath, Elliott Fry, Mike Nugent, Blair Walsh, and Matthew Wright today, tweets Albert Breer of TheMMQB.com.

New England will need another kicker for Sunday’s contest against the Redskins, but the club doesn’t seem to be acting with any sense of urgency. The Patriots are not expected to sign a kicker today and may bring in more free agents on Thursday, per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). The Chargers also held kicker auditions today, which created travel issues for several free agents, per RapSheet.

Nugent by far the most experienced of the kickers that tried out for the Patriots, having attempted more than 300 field goals during his career, but both Walsh and Forbath have each attempted more than 100 kicks each. Fry lost the Bears’ kicking competition over the summer, while Wright is an undrafted rookie free agent.

Meanwhile, Kaare Vedvik — who was traded from the Ravens to the Vikings this offseason before briefly landing with the Jets — declined to work out for the Patriots, according to Mike Garafolo of NFL.com (Twitter link), who adds Vedvik is focusing on punting and kickoffs rather than field goals.

Raiders Place Mike Nugent On IR

The Raiders placed kicker Mike Nugent on injured reserve, per a team announcement. Nugent will be replaced by Matt McCrane, who was signed on Tuesday.

Nugent was off to a strong start this year, but a hip injury on Sunday will likely cost him the season. In three games, Nugent nailed all six of his field goal tries and went 4-of-5 on PATs.

Enter McCrane, who has never attempted a regular season kick, though he did perform well in a limited sample with the Cardinals in the preseason. The Kansas State product will make his debut against the Browns on Sunday as the Raiders search for their first W of the season.

After previously losing long snapper Andrew DePaola to a torn ACL, the Raiders are now lacking experience when it comes to their specialists. Jon Gruden tends to favor veteran savvy, but he’ll just have to hope for the best when it comes to the third facet of the game.

Raiders To Audition Kickers

The Raiders will be auditioning a group of kickers this week to replace the injured Mike Nugent, according to Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal (Twitter link).

Raiders coach Jon Gruden made the announcement at his Monday presser and said that the team will “be trying out numerous people.” Gehlken reports “flights for free agents being arranged now” after Nugent hurt his hip against the Dolphins yesterday, throwing his status for this weekend’s game against the Browns into doubt.

Nugent has been excellent this year, converting all six of his field goal attempts including kicks from 46, 48, and 52 yards through the first three games of the season. Nugent has become a true journeyman during his time in the league. The 36-year-old has spent time with eight different organizations, with stops with the Jets, Buccaneers, Cardinals, Bengals, Giants, Cowboys, and Bears before he landed in Oakland on a one-year deal this summer.

Nugent was an elite kicking prospect coming out of Ohio State, and the Jets invested the 47th overall pick in him back in 2005. It’s unclear at this time who the Raiders plan on working out, but Cairo Santos, Nick Folk, Kai Forbath, Daniel Carlson, and Roberto Aguayo are some of the biggest names left available and could potentially get calls.

 

Could Raiders Acquire Veteran QB?

Even though he regressed a bit in 2017 after a stellar 2016 campaign, Derek Carr is entrenched as the Raiders’ starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, and Oakland is perfectly okay with that. However, the Raiders and new/old head coach Jon Gruden are not as pleased with their backup situation.

As Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, the battle to be Carr’s backup has no apparent winner, and Gruden did not dismiss the possibility that the team could bring in outside help. Connor Cook had a strong preseason debut this year, completing 11 of 19 attempts for 141 yards and a touchdown against the Lions, but his next two outings were not nearly as promising. EJ Manuel, meanwhile, lost his third fumble in three preseason games on Friday night, and he recovered another fumble after a bad snap.

When asked on Friday if the Raiders’ backup quarterback is currently on their roster, Gruden said, “I don’t know. We’re going to continue to work, continue to see who’s available. I thought there were some good moments tonight and there were some moments tonight that weren’t good. It’s been too inconsistent. But I’m not going to say much more tonight until I see the tape. We’re going to continue to evaluate it.”

At this point in the year, the list of free agent quarterbacks does not offer any clear upgrades over Cook or Manuel, with players like Matt Moore, Derek Anderson, and Mark Sanchez representing the best options (excluding Colin Kaepernick, of course). Teddy Bridgewater‘s name has come up in trade rumors, and while it’s not clear if the Jets are willing to part with him, other signal-callers — like Baltimore’s Robert Griffin III, who has enjoyed a strong preseason — could become available via trade.

Carr has suffered injuries in each of the past two seasons, so the No. 2 QB job is an important one to an Oakland team that has playoff aspirations. Manuel was adequate while filling in for Carr in 2017, though Kawahara writes that Cook received a large share of second-team reps in training camp this summer. The Raiders did trade for Christian Hackenberg back in May, but the Penn State product lasted less than a month on the team’s roster, and he is with the Eagles for the time being.

In other Raiders news, Scott Bair of NBCSports.com writes that, after a disastrous start to his NFL career — which saw him go unclaimed on waivers just one year after being selected in the third round of the draft — Shilique Calhoun is firmly in the mix to make Oakland’s roster. Bair also notes that rookie kicker Eddy Pineiro remains sidelined with a groin injury, and Gruden has not put a timetable on his return. The longer Pineiro remains shelved, the better veteran Mike Nugent‘s chances are to make the team.

 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Raiders Rumors: Switzer, DL, Kickers

While Jon Gruden‘s yet to bestow much praise upon Martavis Bryant, the Raiders’ other wide receiver trade acquisition has impressed the new coach. It’s looking like the former Cowboys draft choice will have a role in the passing game, and Ryan Switzer certainly will contribute on special teams. Switzer returned seven punts for touchdowns while at North Carolina, including five his freshman year. He returned a punt for a score last season as a rookie.

He’s a guy that can change the game, I think, on third down. He’s a tough matchup,” Gruden said, via Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required). “He’s quick. He has vertical speed. He has special teams ability. … I love Switzer. I think he’s one of the best punt returners of college football, perhaps the history of college football. He’s as good as I saw.”

Seth Roberts has served as the Raiders’ top slot option for the better part of the past three seasons for a team that hasn’t featured much depth at the position. Switzer, if nothing else, may supply that.

Here’s the latest out of Oakland.

  • It’s not finalized the Raiders will play the 2019 season in Oakland, but they will remain in Napa, Calif., for training camp next year. It could be their last one in northern California, however. In 2020, Reno has emerged as the favorite, Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review-Journal notes. Reno officials visited Raiders camp this weekend, Gehlken reports, and Las Vegas has been ruled out as a camp site. The Raiders hope to play the 2019 season in Oakland, and while 2020 represents the franchise’s relocation goal, a firm departure date hasn’t been established.
  • Giorgio Tavecchio‘s kicking foot looks to have played a key part in his Raiders downfall. Holder Johnny Townsend had to switch sides when the Silver and Black alternated reps between last year’s kicker (Tavecchio, who is left-footed) and rookie UDFA Eddy Pineiro, and Gruden was tired of that continuing to be required, he said today (via Tafur). Gruden added that Pineiro has kicked well in camp and that he views Mike Nugent as a legitimate option, rather than a mere mentor.
  • The Raiders have not been able to supplement Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin with much in the way of complementary pass rushers the past two seasons, but a growing belief exists among Raiders coaches and scouts their rookie contingent of defensive linemen — P.J. Hall, Arden Key and Maurice Hurst — can be early contributors, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. The team has injury-prone defensive end Mario Edwards entering a contract year and fifth-year nose tackle Justin Ellis back. And the Raiders signed Tank Carradine in March. Eddie Vanderdoes enters his second season after being a primary starter as a rookie, but he’s coming off an ACL tear. The team looks to have a deeper pool of options up front.
  • The Raiders are also making some history on their strength and conditioning staff. Kelsey Martinez is signed on to work as an assistant strength assistant, Gehlken writes. The 26-year-old becomes the franchise’s first woman to work in this department. Martinez worked under new Raiders strength boss Tom Shaw at the Tom Shaw Performance facility in Orlando, Fla., the past four years.