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Breaking down the Giants' new kicking competition: Nugent vs. Rosas

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- One is a veteran. The other has never played in an NFL game.

One has made almost 300 career field goals. The other wasn’t even on a roster last season.

Amazingly enough it’s the unknown Aldrick Rosas who remains the favorite to win the New York Giants kicking job, even after Mike Nugent was signed Tuesday as competition.

Nugent, 35, is coming off a shaky season with the Cincinnati Bengals when he made just 79 percent of his field-goal and extra-point attempts. It got so bad that he was getting booed in his home stadium.

“It was tough,” Nugent said. "They gave me second chances. It wasn’t, ‘Miss one, and you’re out of here.’ I had just great support and I was always thankful to have that, but at the end of the day, you have to make kicks. I wasn’t doing that, so I can’t sit here and say, ‘Oh I wish I had more time,’ or anything like that.

“I think it was something that was, at the time, it was probably what I deserved.”

Rosas, 22, had a strong spring with the Giants. He was the only kicker on the roster until Tuesday.

This was the Giants’ plan. General manager Jerry Reese had said on multiple occasions they possibly would add a veteran kicker. It wasn’t anything Rosas did early in training camp that prompted the signing prior to the fourth practice of the summer.

Rosas hit 4 of 5 kicks during Sunday’s practice, with the miss still in contention after a review.

“We thought at some point in time we were going to add a kicker to create some competition, we just weren’t sure when we were going to pull the trigger,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “We thought it would be a good idea in the spring to get Aldrick all the kicks, get him a good foundation underneath him and then provide competition in camp.”

Rosas is younger and has the stronger leg. That is evident at practice when he booms kickoffs into the end zone and makes 50-yard kicks with ease. He went 4-of-4 on kicks at Tuesday’s practice, including a 50-yarder that split the uprights with at least 10 yards to spare. Nugent was at practice but just watched.

Consider that victory No. 1 for the kicker who impressed the Giants this spring.

It still seems as if it is Rosas’ job to lose. He would have to struggle badly at training camp and in the preseason to cede the spot to Nugent. Or Nugent would have to be close to perfect the rest of the summer.

Either option is possible. Nobody knows what Rosas will do in pressure situations. He was in the Titans camp last summer but wasn't on a roster last season after a solid career at Southern Oregon.

Nugent is a national champion from Ohio State who is entering his 13th professional season. He said Tuesday he would like to play 20. In order for that to happen, he'll need to return to his previous form when he hit 83 percent of his field-goal attempts for the Bengals in 2015.

“A veteran kicker. Has made a lot of big kicks in his career,” McAdoo said. “A talented guy. He’s going to be a good teammate and he’ll provide some good competition for us.”

At the very least he'll put some pressure on Rosas. He’s no longer the only kicker on the Giants roster.