Jets' Nugent seeks consistency on field goals after shaky start Print
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Friday, 12 October 2007 13:37
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 HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) -Mike Nugent wants to be the type of kicker the New York Jets can count on, regardless of distance or weather conditions.
``It's always been my No. 1 goal to get in everyone's minds that if we can't get down to score a touchdown, we're going to get three points at least out of it,'' Nugent said Friday. ``That's the one thing I want to be, I want to be dependable.''
Nugent entered the season regarded as one of the NFL's most reliable kickers after finishing last season by converting 18 straight field goals. He extended the run by kicking a 50-yarder against Baltimore in Week 2, giving him the second-longest streak in team history.
ead over the Giants.
``To be honest, on both of them, I didn't play the wind the way I should've,'' he said. ``Sometimes the flags don't really tell you what's actually going on on the field.''
Nugent prides himself on preparing before the game to account for wind conditions and anything else that might affect his kicking. The wind was whipping as usual at Giants Stadium last weekend, and Nugent knew it.
He ended up wanting to, well, kick himself.
``This one, right away, I was kind of really disappointed in myself,'' he said. ``In a way, the wind was a little bit at my back for that one, but it was definitely blowing from right to left, which is something you don't mind as a kicker because you can push it right into the wind and let it sail right in. I was just disappointed in myself thinking that I had hit it so well in warmups. I played the wind, I was smart about it and it's like I got out there and didn't even think about what I had to do on that.''
Nugent is refreshingly open about his missteps, although they haven't been frequent throughout his football career. He was incredibly accurate at Ohio State, where he was recognized as the country's best kicker. The Jets were impressed by his ability to come through in big games and drafted him in the second round in 2005.
He went 22-of-28 during an unsteady rookie season, and had a rough start to last season. Nugent missed two field goals and an extra point in the opener at Tennessee, but missed only one more field-goal attempt the rest of the season. He was 24-of-27, giving him the best field-goal percentage (88.5) in team history.
Off to a 4-for-7 start, Nugent recognizes a disturbing pattern.
``The bad part about it is that I have been consistent so far in the way that I have started the season,'' he said. ``You see some kickers starting off the season 10-for-10 and I started off 4-for-7 my rookie year and I was 2-for-4 this time last year and now I'm 4-for-7 again. It's one of those things where you've got to be able to answer it back. You've got to be able to bounce back and just forget about what happened last week.''
Nugent hasn't lost the confidence of his teammates or coach Eric Mangini, who hasn't needed to give his kicker any reassurance.
``I haven't seen a large fluctuation one way or the other,'' Mangini said of Nugent's demeanor. ``He's a pretty consistent guy and consistent personality. You look for that in kickers, punters and any of those guys that are out there for those types of plays. You need to move on to the next kick and take the next shot, whatever it is. The last one is in the books, so all you can do is deal with the next one.''
Nugent spent the offseason increasing his lower-body strength after his lack of distance on kickoffs was widely criticized during his first two seasons. The results have shown drastic improvement: He has four touchbacks in five games this season after having just three through his first 33 games.
Now, Nugent is looking to regain his reliability on field goals, starting Sunday against the Eagles.
``You want to be consistent throughout the season,'' Nugent said. ``It's one of those things where I've always thought you're only as good as your next kick. If you dwell on the last one, it's going to drive you crazy the rest of the season.''
 

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