How Long Will Mike Nugent and Brandon Tate Last with Cincinnati Bengals?


Sep 21, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Brandon Tate (19) makes a catch against the Tennessee Titans at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 33-7. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Call it the dreaded vote of confidence if you will, but Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis stuck by his kicker and kick returner a day after their gaffs contributed to a blowout loss in New England.  Despite Lewis’ endorsement, as reported by Richard Skinner at, the questions surrounding Mike Nugent and Brandon Tate lean more toward when will they be cut that will they be cut.

On Sunday against the Patriots, Tate took a lot of heat for bringing the ball out of the end zone every time he fielded a kick, averaging just over 20 yards per return and taking big chances along the way.   That risk came home to roost in the third quarter when he fumbled on the 11-yard line in the third quarter, handing Tom Brady and Company another easy touchdown.   

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On the other side of the special teams coin, Nugent missed another field goal, his fifth whiff in his last seven attempts.  That puts him firmly in the hot seat, especially in this era of the NFL, when player-team, team-player loyalty is only as strong as your last performance.

So, how long will these two last?  It was something of a surprise that Tate made team out of camp, so he is likely worn his ice about as thin as it can get.   As for Nugent, the Bengals can’t afford to lose what should be sure points if they are serious about making a deep run this season.  It won’t be much of a shock if Nugent is not with the team at season’s end.

After all, the life of an NFL kicker can be a quirky, unsure proposition.   Just ask erstwhile Detroit Lions FG man Alex Henery.