Biggs: Morris backs Bucs kicker after costly misses

Say this much about Raheem Morris, he didn’t go Jim Mora all over his kicker.

A week after the Seahawks coach ripped into Olindo Mare for two missed field goals in a loss to the Bears, Morris didn’t place the blame on Mike Nugent for two misses that cost the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dearly in a 16-13 loss to the Redskins at FedEx Field.

Nugent missed from 49 and 48 yards, long kicks but kicks the Bucs badly needed with Josh Johnson starting his first game at quarterback. Tampa’s offense is bad and it can’t afford to squander chances for three points. But that is what happened here and in the opener vs. Dallas when Nugent missed from 46 yards and had a 38-yarder blocked.

“We still had a chance to win the ballgame even with the two missed field goals and it's our job to win football games,” Morris told reporters afterward. “He'll get his opportunity again and we've got to make those things. There is no doubt about it.”

Later, Nugent hit two shorter kicks against Washington, but the Bucs are winners if he hits four, and they go to overtime if he makes three. It wouldn’t be a surprise here if Morris brought in some kickers this week for a tryout.

Nugent is now 78.6 percent in his career, and the Tampa Tribune reported he was chosen over veteran Matt Bryant in part because of his accuracy from greater distances. Career-wise, Nugent is 17-for-26 (68 percent) from 40 to 49 yards and 3-for-9 (33 percent) from 50 on out. Those aren’t special numbers by any stretch of the imagination.

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