Who's the Ravens Kicker Not Named Justin Tucker Launching 70-Yard Field Goals?
There's no better way for a kicker to make a name for himself than to attempt a Justin Tucker impersonation, and actually pull it off.
Tucker frequently puts on a kicking clinic at Ravens practices by converting field goals from a reasonable distance, then gradually moving back 5 yards at a time until finishing with a deeeeep boot.
Well, another strong-legged Raven named Kaare Vedvik, who signed as an undrafted punter/kicker after April's NFL Draft, put on a similar show at the Under Armour Performance Center and shared it on Instagram.
The guy nailed three consecutive kicks from 60, 65 and then, yes, 70 yards out.
My goodness, that's impressive strength, even if it's in a weather-controlled facility without defenders bearing down. It's particularly impressive because Vedvik's true position is punter, but the Ravens have also used him as a kicker in practice to give Tucker an occasional break.
"There's a big difference between making a 70-yard field goal with no one around and during game conditions, but it's a positive sign for the player, who likely will have to go elsewhere if he hopes to land on a roster," wrote ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio.
Vedvik is probably a new name to most Ravens fans, but the legend of his big leg is well known outside of Baltimore. It's not every day that punters make the highlight reel, but Vedvik did just that last year when he launched a 92-yard punt while playing for Marshall University last October, which was good for the seventh-longest punt in FBS history and THE longest in 45 years.
Vedvik, who was born in Norway, first made a name for himself coming out of high school when he made a 70-yard field goal at Kohl's Kicking Camp in Texas. So, this is nothing new to him.
For those asking, it's very, very unlikely that Vedvik poses as an actual threat to overtake Tucker, a Super Bowl champion and two-time Pro Bowler. Tucker has proven to be the league's best kicker, and one of the best all-time in his six NFL seasons. Veteran punter Sam Koch has also established himself as one of the league's premier punters, so he's likely safe too.
That said, there have been plenty of other kickers who made names for themselves in the offseason in Baltimore and subsequently went on to enjoy fruitful NFL careers, including Graham Gano, Wil Lutz and Robbie Gould.
Perhaps the trend will continue with Vedvik.
"T]here’s [not really any kicker competition in the sense of the roster," wrote Ravens Wire's Matthew Stevens. "Justin Tucker is the guy and will continue to be the guy for the foreseeable future."
Is 2018 a Year-Long NFL Audition for Joe Flacco?
With incumbent quarterback Joe Flacco having his best offseason in years, he's not only the unquestioned leader and starter, but he's setting himself up for a resurgent year that everyone in Baltimore would love to see.
But even if Flacco does return to his 2012 (historic Super Bowl run) or 2014 (best statistical year) form, the question on most people's minds is what will happen next year between Flacco and the Ravens?
"This season feels like a league-wide audition for Flacco, who is likely to be playing elsewhere in 2019," wrote NFL.com's Dan Hanzus.
Whether "likely" or not, that sentiment has obviously emerged because of the presence of first-rounder Lamar Jackson on the roster. For Hanzus, it feels like the Ravens are setting themselves up to follow the path of the Kansas City Chiefs.
They traded quarterback Alex Smith in January for a third-round pick and a bona fide starting corner after Smith led his team to the playoffs while rookie Patrick Mahomes developed. Mahomes will take over the reins of the offense this year and try to lead his team to a repeat playoff appearance.
"Here's the ideal scenario for the Ravens," Hanzus wrote.
"All the offseason chatter about Lamar Jackson's arrival 'motivating' Flacco turns out to be true (which feels like a classic offseason trope, but you never know) and Flacco enjoys a turn-back-the-clock season that a) gets Baltimore back to the playoffs and b) pumps up Flacco's value before the inevitable trade to make way for the kid."
A Look at Ravens' Dead Money in 2018
Every team has dead money on their salary cap.
Dead money is the cap cash still being taken up by players no longer on the team, and it's an inevitability, although teams obviously want to keep it to a minimum. Ebony Bird's Joe Schiller looked at six notable Ravens still being paid by the team despite moving on from Baltimore.
WR Jeremy Maclin: $2.5 million
TE Dennis Pitta: $2.2 million
RT Austin Howard: $2 million
RB Danny Woodhead: $1.5 million
DB Lardarius Webb: $800,000
OL Jeremy Zuttah: $100,000
The Ravens' total dead money this season is $9.1 million, according to Spotrac, which is significantly less than last year's $21.9 million. Before that, it was $15.3 million in 2016, $24 million in 2015, $14.9 million in 2014 and $17.5 million in 2013. This year's total ranks as the 15th-most in the league.
"[The lower dead money is] certainly a step in the right direction, but four of the six players (Maclin, Howard, Woodhead, and Webb) were released this offseason," wrote Schiller. "Three of those four players released were free-agent signings just one year ago.
"Newsome and co. signed a slew of free agents yet again this offseason to give Flacco arguably the most help he's had in his career. These moves could and are expected to pay dividends for the offense but on the flip side, they also provide the possibility of a heaping pile of dead money."
Ravens Led NFL in Multiple-Tight End Sets Last Year
It's easy to see why the Ravens used two high-round draft picks on tight ends this year.
Their starting quarterback loves to throw to them, and the offensive system often implements two of them on the field at the same time.
According to statistical website Football Outsiders, Baltimore led the NFL in both 12 and 22 personnel usage. The 12 personnel set includes two tight ends, two receivers and a running back, while the 22 personnel set features two tight ends and two running backs.
"All in all, they had 495 snaps with two tight ends on the field; Minnesota and Kansas City were the only other teams even over 300," wrote Bryan Knowles. "Throw in the odd three-tight end set near the goal line, and the Ravens ended up with multiple tight ends on the field 55 percent of the time; no one else even hit 40 percent.
"And now, they've added Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews in the draft to bolster the position that much more. We know the Ravens have talked about experimenting with a two-quarterback set with Joe Flacco and Lamar Jackson on the field together; what we didn't know is if it'll be Flacco, Jackson, and four tight ends. The ultimate big formation!"