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The 5 O'Clock Club: The muddled kicking situation in the NFC East

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It’s 5 o’clock somewhere...

The 5 o’clock club aims to provide a forum for reader-driven discussion at a time of day when there isn’t much NFL news being published. Feel free to introduce topics that interest you in the comments below.

I haven’t checked to be sure, but I’m guessing that the NFC East is the only division in the NFL that has 3 kickers playing this week who have a total of 14 regular season (and post-season) games’ worth of experience between them.

The grand old man of the division, Mike Nugent — the only kicker in the division with more than 7 NFL regular season games under his belt — will be playing in his first game of the 2017 season. Nugent is the newest kicker for the Dallas Cowboys, and has never kicked for a team in the NFC East before (in fact, outside of 6 games in 2009, he has never kicked for a team in the NFC before).

The lineup of NFC East kickers isn’t exactly a Who’s Who of NFL kickers or a list of likely 2017 pro-bowlers.

The Eagles

Week 1 versus the Redskins, Caleb Sturgis suffered a hip injury, and was later placed on Injured Reserve. The Eagles signed rookie Jake Elliott as his replacement. Eagles fans were initially nervous, but are now openly discussing the idea of holding onto Elliott and letting Sturgis go, despite the fact that Elliott’s 14/17 stat line is merely pedestrian.

The Redskins

Dustin Hopkins was injured in the game against the San Francisco 49ers.

He was replaced by Nick Rose, a kicker who was born in Hawaii, enjoyed an undistinguished career at the University of Texas, was signed and released by the Falcons in 2016, signed and released by the 49ers earlier this season, and who played in his first-ever regular season NFL game against the Eagles on Monday, kicking a 27 yard field goal in his only attempt, and going 3/3 on PATs.

The Cowboys

The San Francisco 49ers can now be dubbed the NFC East kicker-killers, after knocking out the kickers for the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys in consecutive weeks.

Dan Bailey has been the most accurate kicker in the NFL for most of the past several seasons, but he was forced out of last week’s game against the 49ers with an injury, and reports are that he will miss 4 weeks or more.

With a career field goal accuracy mark of 89.9%, and seasons that are consistently awesome, prior to his injury Bailey had not missed a field goal in 7 attempts in 2017. From 2011 to 2016, his accuracy numbers (in percent) have been 86.5, 93.5, 93.3, 86.2, 93.8 and 84.4.

Mike Nugent, the former Bengal, has been signed to kick for the Cowboys while Bailey rehabs. Nugent has been in the league since 2005, when he played for the New York Jets. His accuracy is nowhere near as good as Dan Bailey’s. From 2011 to 2016, his accuracy numbers with the Bengals (in percent) have been 86.8, 82.6, 81.8, 78.8, 82.1, 79.3.

His career accuracy rate is 79.3% — more than 10 percentage points lower than Bailey’s.

Last year, in addition to having trouble on field goal attempts, Nugent struggled with extra points as well, making only 23 of 29 attempts, and missing on at least one PAT per game in 5 of his last 6 games in 2016.

I’m sure most Redskins fans will remember the London game last season where Nugent was 0 for 1 on Field Goal attempts, and 3 for 4 on PATs, leaving 4 points on the field in a game that ultimately ended in a tie.

The Giants

The only NFC East kicker to have played in every game for his team this season is... wait for it... Aldrick Rosas.

I’ll bet you didn’t know that did you?

In anticipation of the NFL imposed second suspension on Josh Brown in September this year (in addition to a one-game suspension last season) for issues related to domestic violence, the Giants needed a kicker. They brought two players into camp: veteran Mike Nugent (the new Cowboys kicker) and Rosas, who had played at Southern Oregon before spending time in the Titans training camp in 2016.

After making the first three field goal attempts of his young career, Rosas is just 4 for 7 since Week 4, though he is a perfect 11 for 11 on XPAs this season.

Poll

In Week 8 of the 2017 regular season, which NFC East team has the best kicking situation?

This poll is closed

  • 73%
    Eagles (Elliott)
    (73 votes)
  • 16%
    Redskins (Rose)
    (16 votes)
  • 8%
    Cowboys (Nugent)
    (8 votes)
  • 3%
    Giants (Rosas)
    (3 votes)
100 votes total Vote Now

Poll

In Week 8 of the 2017 regular season, which NFC East team has the worst kicking situation?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    Eagles (Elliott)
    (1 vote)
  • 21%
    Redskins (Rose)
    (19 votes)
  • 46%
    Cowboys (Nugent)
    (42 votes)
  • 31%
    Giants (Rosas)
    (28 votes)
90 votes total Vote Now

Poll

Which NFC East team has the best long-term kicking situation?

This poll is closed

  • 50%
    Eagles
    (51 votes)
  • 14%
    Redskins
    (15 votes)
  • 30%
    Cowboys
    (31 votes)
  • 3%
    Giants
    (4 votes)
101 votes total Vote Now