When the Bengals take on the Buccaneers tonight, rookie kicker Tom Obarski will likely be kicking for the entirety of the game, as he did against the New York Giants, with Mike Nugent getting the night off.
As Geoff Hobson writes, Nugent will likely be getting this game off as a precaution with his lingering hamstring issue.
The irony of the Monday night special teams is that the guy who is probably going to get the most work is rookie kicker Tom Obarski and he’s not going to make the club. But while Mike Nugent is doing more and more things as he comes back from a tender hamstring, he said this week the concern is coming back too soon and then having an injury that puts him out a month.
And Monday is a good reminder Tampa was his landing spot seven years ago coming back from a quad injury while with the Jets and the Bucs released him after the first four games.
So Obarski figures to get all the kicks like he did last week against the Giants.
The good news is, it doesn't sound like anything serious, and Nugent has even practiced during the last week since the first preseason game. Giving Nugent this game off is more playing it safe than anything, while also giving Obarski a chance to show what he's made of.
Still, you wouldn't think there's really a competition at kicker with Nugent having just been re-signed this offseason. However, Darrin Simmons made it clear when Obarski was signed this offseason, there would be competition at kicker.
While Obarski is highly unlikely to actually beat Nugent out for a spot on the 53-man roster, there's always the possibility he makes it onto the practice squad. The Bengals are certainly going to want to hold onto him if he keeps drilling 50+ yard field goals in practice.
However, Obarski's preseason debut wasn't perfect. Against the Giants, Obarski converted three of his four field-goal attempts to go with two extra points, including a 46-yard make, but he missed a 27-yard attempt, which is simply unacceptable for a kicker.
If Obarski is going to at least earn a spot on the practice squad, he'll need a good showing tonight and for the rest of the preseason.