One of several decisions that the coaching staff must make for the Bengals to drop 22 players by 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon, is declaring a winner between the Bengals place kickers.
Neither kicker converted every field goal, with Rayner missing two of his eight attempts and Nugent missing one of four. To be fair, though, Nugent's lone miss was a 59-yard attempt with three seconds left against the Philadelphia Eagles. Overall, the two finished the season with a photo finish with Nugent kicking far greater distances, but only attempting half Rayner's kicks. Neither player had an edge on kickoffs, with Rayner taking a .2-yard average on kickoffs. Rayner converted all five extra point attempts with Nugent kicking all six.
|FG Att / FGM||XP|
|Dave Rayner||8 / 6||5 / 5|
|Mike Nugent||4 / 3||6 / 6|
The advantage that may give Nugent the edge is successfully kicking a 50-yard (or more) field goal in back-to-back games. Rayner, on the other hand, had two misses of 34 and 44 yards.
|Field Goal notes per game.|
|Mike Nugent||David Rayner|
|Cowboys||No attempts||No attempts|
|Broncos||No attempts||Converted four FGs at 36, 27, 31 and 26 yards. Missed a 44-yarder|
|Eagles||Missed 59-yard FG attempt (short)||Missed 34-yard FG attempt (wide left)|
|Bills||Converted 54-yard FG||Converted 32-yard FG|
|Colts||Converted two FGs at 52 and 34 yards||Converted 39-yard FG|
The idea that Rayner was a better kickoff specialist of the two, didn't show up as much during the preseason. Even though he had the two highest averages against the Cowboys and Bills, he also dipped to a 63-yard average against the Eagles.
|Kickoffs Per Game .|
|Mike Nugent||David Rayner|
|Kickoff Avg.||# Kickoffs||Touchbacks||Kickoff Avg.||# Kickoffs||Touchbacks|
Comparatively speaking, both kickers had nearly a three-yard disadvantage compared to former Bengals place kicker Shayne Graham, who averaged 70.6 yards per kickoff.
One has to suspect that Nugent, born and raised in the state of Ohio (if that matters), has a slight advantage.
"I feel great, I feel healthy and I’m trying to get 100 percent," said Nugent. "Not to take things too far — it’s just preseason — but I feel that working with Darrin (Simmons) has made me a better kicker. I didn’t kick the way I wanted to the last couple of years, but Darrin and I worked on some things, and I really feel I’m hitting the ball more consistently."
Even with Nugent's consecutive 50-yard conversions in mind, there stands a chance that Cincinnati could visit the waiver wire for a kicker with other teams having their own place kicking battles. Friday morning, the Houston Texans released veteran place kicker Kris Brown. You also suspect that Baltimore will release either Graham or Billy Cundiff.