Camp Battles: Kicker

Can Cundiff regain his 2011 form and keep his job?

Baltimore Gridiron Report continues to take a look some of the positions that will be decided over the next few weeks.

Next up – Kicker.

BILLY CUNDIFF  vs.  JUSTIN TUCKER

When Billy Cundiff signed a 5-year contract $15 million dollar contract in January 2011 it capped a Pro Bowl season for the former journeyman and it signaled that the Ravens had found a long term solution at the kicking position.

Unfortunately 2012 was a different story for Cundiff who battled injuries and inconsistency (28 for 37 on FG Attempts) during the regular season and then missed the biggest kick of the season against the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game that would have sent the game into overtime.

Wide Left.

Since “The Miss”, there have been constant questions throughout the off-season about Cundiff’s mental toughness and if fans would ever be able to get past his failure in crunch time.

The organization has stood by him and instead of signing an experienced vet to compete for the job  they instead added an undrafted player out of the University of Texas – Justin Tucker.

So far Tucker is holding his own in the competition and has shown accuracy and leg strength. Cundiff also seems to be up for the challenge and at this point has kicked well in practice.

At this point I’d be very surprised if Cundiff wasn’t the starting kicker in September.

No offense to Tucker but if the Ravens really wanted a competition they would have signed a veteran kicker and really let the two battle it out. I think that either Tucker would have to totally outperform the incumbent by a large margin or Cundiff would have to implode during pre-season in order to make the team. The Ravens have too much invested in Cundiff already and they are hoping that he’ll round back into his 2011 form. Plus it wouldn’t make much sense to me for a team with Super Bowl hopes to put it’s faith in an undrafted player.

I know Cundiff is saying all the right things now but his next miss will be heavily scrutinized, be in the pre-season or regular season. Can he stand that kind of scrutiny? Can the team? Can the fans?

Wait and See.

 

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