Jim Breech played 13 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, scoring a franchise-leading 1,151 points, which is an unbelievable 372 points more than second-place Shayne Graham. If the thoughtful Mike Brown green-lit an actual Ring of Honor, Breech should be the first kicker honored. Mike Nugent, once a local fan who watched Breech as a kid, wants to challenge Breech's tenure. "I'm in my 11th (season) overall," Nugent, drafted in the second round (Jets) of the 2005 NFL draft, said via Bengals.com. "Got to take care of the body and keep the ball straight."
Nugent, who holds the franchise record for most points scored in a single season (132 in 2011), is working without any opposition as the team's primary placekicker. During Saturday's training camp session, the team practiced with revised PAT rules from 33 yards and concluded this segment with a successful 53-yard conversion. Nugent attempted every conversion.
"I understand the logic behind it. It makes sense," said Nugent after the league moved PAT kicks to the 15-yard line. "But I guess where I would disagree with it is it's an offensive-driven game in every way. People want to see Andy Dalton throw for 500 yards. It's a points-driven industry. You can make the argument scooting us back makes the game more difficult."
Being mentioned with Cincinnati's top point scorers, like Breech, Graham, Doug Pelfrey and Horst Muhlmann, is a measure of success in the NFL.
"When I hear names like that, I've always thought when you're in one place for a long time you feel like you're doing something right," Nugent said via Bengals.com. "Hopefully a dependable kind of guy. It would be great as you keep climbing on a list like that."
Nugent has had his on-field turmoil in Cincinnati, most notably his chip-shot miss against Carolina that ended in a tie. Much was made last year about his conversions, but context is important; most of his remaining misses occurred during wins, blowouts or were difficult to begin with (aka, the 50-yarders in Pittsburgh).
That being said, Nugent converted 78.8 percent of his field goal attempts in 2014. Breech, on the other hand, hit a conversion rate of 78.8 percent in only four of 13 seasons with the Bengals.
Cincinnati also signed Concordia-St. Paul kicker Tom Obarski following the 2015 NFL draft, and he was originally expected to compete with Nugent.
"I don't believe in just bringing in camp legs," Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons said last May. "If we're going to bring somebody in, we're going to bring somebody in that is competition for a spot. I don't want to waste somebody else's time, and I certainly don't want to waste my own time on developing somebody who's not going to be here anyway."
However, he didn't take any snaps with the field goal unit on Saturday; Bengals.com reiterated Obarksi is really only here for "list keeping", meaning if Nugent is forced to sit for any reason, they have a list of players to call.