Mike Nugent could have been kicking for the Washington Redskins on Sunday.
He tried out for them earlier this month, but they opted to go with Nick Rose. That kept him on the open market and the Dallas Cowboys signed him earlier this week when Dan Bailey went down with a groin injury.
And Nugent made a favorable impression in his debut, connecting on four of five field goals and all three point-after attempts in a 33-19 victory over the Redskins on a rainy afternoon at FedExField.
“It is satisfying,” Nugent said. “I have had about five or six workouts in the first eight weeks and I felt like I hit the ball really solid in training camp. It’s good to get out on the field and it’s a positive feeling to be able to feel like you contributed to win today. I’m about that.”
It didn’t get off to the best start, though. Nugent’s first field goal attempt from 49 yards was wide left.
But he responded by connecting on four second-half field goals of 36, 48, 27 and 37 yards. Considering the weather factor, Nugent has certainly earned trust quickly.
“My job is a little different. I don’t have to use my hands very much,” Nugent said. “Luckily the fields are taken care of so well. I have to make sure I have my footing. These guys did a great job getting the ball down. It’s the reason you practice certain situations.
“They did great when it was time to kick the ball. It was exactly where it was supposed to be.”
Nugent had a more memorable day than Rose, to say the least. The former Texas kicker missed a PAT attempt in the fourth quarter, and also had a field goal blocked.
The Cowboys appear to have gotten the better end of the kicker deal for now.
“Mike’s played a lot of football and had a great opportunity today,” Cowboys special teams coordinator Rich Bisaccia said. “He felt like he had some great protection and could slow down a little bit and played really well. So I’m excited for him.”
Added coach Jason Garrett: “It looks like the operation was really clean, even in challenging conditions, and he was money really throughout. We had a lot of confidence in him when we signed him and he’s a real steady guy.”