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Justin Tucker Shines During Training Camp

Posted Aug 2, 2013

The second-year kicker is booting long field goals consistently throughout practice.

The Ravens were nearing the end of Wednesday’s training camp practice when Head Coach John Harbaugh decided to test Justin Tucker’s leg.

Harbaugh called on Tucker to attempt a 71-yard field goal, which would be the longest field goal in NFL history. Tucker booted the ball straight down the middle, but it fell about five yards short of the goal post as Jacoby Jones caught it in the back of the end zone.

The kick was a little short, but the attempt showed the kind of weapon the Ravens have with the second-year kicker’s range.

“I have confidence in them and they have confidence in me, and if they want to trot me out there, they’ve got a reason to do it – it’s because I can make that kick,” Tucker said.

Tucker stayed on the field with snapper Morgan Cox and holder Sam Koch after practice to give the 71 yarder another shot.

“After practice we went to the same spot and knocked it down,” Tucker said. “We can definitely hit that ball.”

The longest ball Tucker has ever made was a 77 yarder, he said, which he drilled during training on his own.

Tucker has shown plenty of range this offseason, and is having a great training camp to follow up a stellar rookie campaign. He rarely misses, and he can regularly boot 50-plus yard field goals through the uprights.

He hit from beyond 60 yards in both Wednesday and Thursday practices.

“He’s got a strong leg, and we’re going to use the weapon that we have,” Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg said.

Tucker showed off his leg throughout last season, setting a franchise record with four field goals beyond 50 yards. He finished the season 30-for-33 overall, and his goal for this season is to be perfect on field-goal attempts.

This offseason, Tucker’s focus has been on refining his technique, and Rosburg said that eight-year veteran Koch is a great model for Tucker.

“Justin watches Sam work,” Rosburg said. “I think he’s learning how Sam has developed over the course of his career and he understands that while he had a really good year one, he’s just getting started.”

This training camp has been a much different setup for Tucker, as he was in the middle of an intense kicking battle with veteran Billy Cundiff last year. Tucker came into last season as an undrafted rookie fighting for a spot, and now he’s the only kicker in camp.

Despite the change in situations, Tucker hasn’t adjusted his attitude.

“It is a little different only having one kicker. You have a lot more individual attention,” Rosburg said. “It’s not that he doesn’t have any competition; it’s just that he gets a lot more attention.”

And the attention comes when Tucker is attempting those long-range field goals. The Ravens have shown they want to put their young kicker’s leg to the test, and that’s exactly what he wants.

“If they want to send me out there to lay away at the ball, I’m all for it,” Tucker said. “I love hitting them. That’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to make them.”

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