Billy Cundiff, Justin Tucker Square Off At Stadium


Justin Tucker lined up from 63 yards, an almost impossible distance. He nailed it, drawing one of the biggest roars from the crowd of 20,324 fans all day.

So what was Billy Cundiff's reaction?

"Back it up," he said.

Cundiff wasn't about to be outdone by the rookie without putting up a fight. The veteran incumbent asked to tee off from 65 yards. He struck the ball well, but it fell just a few yards short.

The battle of the kickers was a highlight of Saturday's M&T Bank Stadium practice. Outside of Cundiff's almost impossible deep shot, both kickers were perfect on the day.

"It's amazing the competitiveness in these guys," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "Both those kicks were pretty amazing."

"I think they just wanted to let us have some fun out there today and let it rip," Tucker added. "We had a very slight breeze at our back, so why not bring out the big guns and fire away? If he would have made it [from 65 yards], I would have asked for the same kick. It's a competition, no doubt."

Cundiff and Tucker have both performed well throughout training camp. Tucker has fewer misses (just two). Cundiff has missed seven times, including the 65-yarder.

Cundiff feels like he's having the best training camp of his career. He, Special Teams Coach Jerry Rosburg and Kicking Coach Randy Brown have watched all of his misses from last year and broken down the error in technique on each.

Cundiff said he's working on some new things in camp, and is pleased that he's still been making a high percentage of his attempts. He's also happy that he was able to connect from 54 yards Saturday even though his leg isn't extremely fresh considering the rigors of camp.

"It's been good," Cundiff said. "Justin is a really, really talented young kicker. … He's come in, he's played lights out and that's caused me to bring my best game each and every day. I think I can only get better in that situation."

Cundiff also said the age difference between the two kickers (a decade) does show. Cundiff is married, has two kids and another on the way. Tucker is fresh out of college.

"It's good for me [be]cause it's really livened things up a little bit, keeps me young and he pushes me," Cundiff said. "I think that's the best thing you can possibly ask for."

Tucker is a high-energy guy who has a very big boot. The coaches have consistently tested how deep he can connect from throughout camp, often backing him up beyond Cundiff's range.

He was just short on a 60-yarder at practice last week. But his successful 63-yard boot would beat the Ravens franchise record of 56 yards set by Wade Richey in 2003. That is, if it were in a game.

Tucker tried to replicate game conditions as much as possible entering Saturday's practice. Rosburg has said that how the kickers perform in the preseason games will be more important in their ultimate judgment because the pressure is on.

"First time getting out there and really getting to experience a stadium in all its glory, this is an awesome place," Tucker said. "For me, my first time being here, I know I put some weight on today.

"Getting a good number of kicks and to make them all, I couldn't have asked for more."

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