FOXBOROUGH — It’s been a perfect couple of New England days to try out a couple of new kickers.
There was spitting rain and swirling wind around the Gillette Stadium complex for the second straight afternoon on Thursday as the Patriots concluded their kicker competition by signing veteran Mike Nugent to replace the injured Stephen Gostkowski.
The Patriots will be the eighth team for the 37-year-old Nugent, who is two years older than Gostkowski and has converted 253 of 311 career field goal attempts (81.4 percent).
Nugent entered the league with the Jets as a second-round pick in 2005 and has also been with the Cardinals, Buccaneers, Bengals, Bears, Cowboys, and Raiders.
His time in the Meadowlands and Cincinnati means Nugent is no stranger to kicking in foul weather. He’s enjoyed great success at Gillette Stadium, where he’s hit 9 of 11 field goals and is 10 for 10 on extra points.
Nugent is best remembered for his seven-year run in Cincinnati (2010-16), where he connected on 157 of 192 field goal attempts (81.8 percent). His career long is 55 and he’s 13 of 30 all time in attempts of 50 yards or longer.
Nugent’s most recent action was three-game stint with the Raiders last season, where he filled in for Sebastian Janikowski. Nugent hit all six of his field goal attempts — including a 52-yarder — and connected on 4 of 5 extra points.
Long snapper Joe Cardona spent a good portion of Thursday’s practice working with Nugent, whom he called “a complete professional,” and holder Jake Bailey, as the trio works to get up to speed.
“He’s kicked in this league for a long time and obviously made a lot of great kicks. So, right now it’s just about building chemistry and building it fast so that we’re ready for Sunday,’’ Cardona said of Nugent. “I think it’s a tremendous help to bring in a veteran, but ultimately we’re starting from ground zero as far as building that chemistry and him developing into his role on the team.’’
In addition to Nugent, Bailey will also help fill the void left by Gostkowski’s trip to injured reserve, as Cardona indicated the rookie, who has showed off a powerful leg on punts, will take over kickoff duties, something he excelled at during training camp and the exhibition season.
“Jake kicked off in preseason and he did it in college, so he’s excited,’’ said Cardona. “He seems excited about the role and to go out and perform.’’
Cardona said Gostkowski will be missed.
“It’s really unfortunate,’’ Cardona said. “Steve’s a leader on this team, someone who’s been obviously great for a long time and made a lot of incredible kicks. We’re going to miss having him around, but he’s got to get his body right and get ready to help us in the future.’’
Ben Watson returned to the field for the first time since suffering a concussion Aug. 22 in the third preseason game against Carolina.
The tight end was forced to sit the first four regular-season games while serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
A 16-year veteran, Watson is not yet on the active roster as the team was given an exemption, but the possibility remains he could be activated on Saturday.
Redskins coach Jay Gruden expects a different-looking attack whenever Watson is thrown back into the mix.
“More physicality,’’ Gruden said. “He’s one of the better blocking tight ends in the league. He’s been doing it for a long time. He’s experienced, he’s smart. So, you can do a lot of different things with him, and I think that’ll add to their ability to run the ball even better, and obviously off of it where Tom [Brady] really, really has a field day with his play-action passes. That’ll help them out in both regards, which makes them even more dangerous.’’
Man of honor
Devin McCourty was named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for September after the veteran safety recorded four interceptions (one in each game), along with five passes defended and 13 tackles. “The ball is finding me,’’ McCourty said this week. It’s the first such honor for McCourty and the first time a Patriot has received it since Chandler Jones in November 2013. It comes a day after Kyle Van Noy was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week, and a week after Bailey was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his punting prowess . . . Receivers Julian Edelman (chest) and Josh Gordon (knee) remained limited at practice, while receiver/punt returner Gunner Olszewski (hamstring) was taken off the injury report . . . Running back Rex Burkhead (foot), linebacker Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), safety Patrick Chung (heel), and special teamer Nate Ebner (groin) all remained limited . . . For the Redskins, quarterback Case Keenum shed his walking boot and returned to practice on a limited basis after missing Wednesday’s session. Gruden still hasn’t settled on a signal-caller with Keenum, Colt McCoy, and rookie Dwayne Haskins vying for the nod.