Just today at the end of practice, special teams coach Rich Bisaccia was talking as if the Raiders kicker battle was still neck and neck between incumbent Giorgio Tavecchio and rookie Eddy Pineiro.
“I’d say it’s just a daily grind to be the kicker. It’s a daily grind,” Bisaccia said when asked if either kicker was gaining an edge in the battle.
A couple hours later, Giorgio Tavecchio was released according to multiple reports, and replaced him with veteran NFL kicker, Mike Nugent, first reported by Michael Gehlken of the Las Vegas Review Journal.
Nugent is a right footed kicker, like Pineiro, which should help punter Johnny Townsend with his holding duties.
In practice today, Tavecchio went 6 for 6 early on, but in team sessions, he missed what looked to be about a 50-yard field goal well short. Hard to say how much that played a part in what already figured to be a battle that favored Pineiro as a guy Gruden glowed about and who Townsend played with at Florida.
Tavecchio was the Raiders starting kicker last season, replacing Sebastian Janikowski who went on injured reserve with a back injury. He converted 76.2% of his field goals.
Nugent is a former 2nd round pick by the Jets. He has played for 6 different NFL teams over 13 seasons. That included 7 years in Cincinnati with Paul Guenther from 2010-16. He has a career 81% conversion rate.