As of now, it looks like Mike Nugent's final kick of 2018 will ironically be one of his best of the season, a 52-yarder in the final moments of last week's game against the Miami Dolphins.
"He [Nugent] felt something in his hip," said Head Coach Jon Gruden. "You could tell by his approach on kickoffs. He wasn't running through the kickoffs. He was able to kick field goals. Amazing he was able to kick a 52-yard field goal to give us a chance at the end. That hip was a problem, don't know for how long. He did a nice job for us."
The veteran kicker was placed on the reserve/injured list Wednesday, and if his season did indeed come to an end after just three games, give the man his due, as he connected on all six of his field goal attempts in 2018, and all but one of his extra points.
But, the beat goes on, and after a successful tryout, the Raiders signed Matt McCrane, who after an impressive career at Kansas State, signed with the Arizona Cardinals this offseason, before ultimately being released as part of the team's final roster reductions.
"Good kicker," Gruden said of McCrane. "Kicked with Arizona in the preseason. Has a good leg. Had a number of kickers in here yesterday. He'll be the man this week."
While McCrane and the Cardinals eventually parted ways, it certainly doesn't appear to be because of a lack of production; McCrane connected on all four of his field goal attempts this preseason, including tries from 53 and 54 yards respectively.
"We liked him coming out of Kansas State," Gruden explained. "We liked what he did in the preseason, he hit two 50-yard bombs and he can kick the ball out of the end zone. We are going to give him a shot. It's our third kicker, we are on our second long snapper. We've had problems at punt returner so hopefully we can get him in here and get him healthy and have some success."
McCrane hasn't been on a roster since the final days of the preseason, but just over three weeks after being let go by the Cardinals, the former Kansas State Wildcat is ready to get back to work.
"Since Arizona, I was just expecting a call, hoping for a call, so I just stayed ready for that, and when the call came, I came out for a workout, and I guess it was yesterday," he explained. "I just take it one kick at a time. That's kind of my philosophy on things, and luckily it turned out, and worked out."
With McCrane now entrenched as the team's placekicker, the Raiders now employ an all-rookie special teams battery, but even though the trio has appeared in a combined five career games, the Silver and Black's newest member sees the situation he's entering as an opportunity.
"I think it's a good opportunity for us to prove that rookies are ready to compete," McCrane said. "We've got, like you said, our long snapper, Trent [Sieg], and then Johnny [Townsend] as well. During the workout yesterday we had full snap holds and kicks, so I felt comfortable with those guys. We're going to get some work today, and then go out to the stadium on Friday to get ready for kicking on the dirt."
Including Wednesday, McCrane will get three full practices with Sieg and Townsend before the trio has to perform in game action. That will come Sunday against the Browns; kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.