Can you be perfect?
That’s the mantra Ravens kicker
After missing just three field goal attempts last year (34-for-37, including the playoffs), Tucker is aiming for a 100 percent success rate.
“It’s not unrealistic to say that I can have a perfect regular season kicking field goals and extra points,” Tucker said. “It’s just a matter of, no pun intended, putting in the leg work right now.”
Tucker’s regular-season 90.9 percent success rate (30-for-33) ranked sixth in the NFL last year. Washington’s Kai Forbath led all kickers at 94.4 percent (17-for-18).
The last kicker to hit 100 percent of his kicks in a season was the Indianapolis Colts’ Mike Vanderjagt in 2003.
Tucker remembers what he specifically did wrong in each of his three misses last season.
He missed one wide right from 47 yards out in the rain against the Cleveland Browns in Week 4. He hit another wide right, from 41 yards away, in bad footing at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. Tucker’s final miss was from 45 yards out in the regular-season finale in Cincinnati.
“I learned from it pretty quickly because on two of those kicks, I had to go right back out a series later and hit a kick from a similar spot,” Tucker said.
Tucker drastically improved throughout his rookie season. He now enters this summer’s work in a far different situation from this time a year ago.
Last year, the undrafted rookie was simply given a tryout at Ravens rookie minicamp. He wasn’t immediately signed, and spent about two weeks away in Texas, “chomping at the bit” for another opportunity.
The Ravens eventually signed Tucker to compete with incumbent Billy Cundiff. He impressed coaches enough to eventually win the job in training camp.
Now Tucker doesn’t have any competition, as of yet, heading into this year’s organized team activities (OTAs). He’s a virtual lock for the job.
Still, consistency is the name of the game for a kicker. While Tucker admitted it’s “crazy the difference a year makes,” he refuses to let his success from last year affect his preparation for this season.
“Every single day is the same,” Tucker said. “When I got here a calendar year ago, I was thinking the exact same thing I’m thinking now: how can I get better and contribute to the success of this team?”
One thing helping Tucker this offseason is that he has his kicking co-workers, holder/punter
“It’s like we haven’t even skipped a beat,” Tucker said. “We came out here the first couple times and it was like we were just right back in New Orleans.”