Cundiff: 'I'll Take My Services Elsewhere'
After telling reporters that he was disappointed and shocked about not getting to kick Thursday night, incumbent kicker Billy Cundiff reviewed his track record in the post-game locker room.
The 2010 Pro Bowler said he's made about 90 percent of his kicks inside the 50-yard line the last two years, going 12 of 13 in the playoffs. He added he's also recorded the most touchbacks in the league over that time.
"I feel like if that's not good enough, I'll take my services elsewhere to be perfectly honest," he said in the CSNBaltimore.com video below. "I feel like it's a really solid track record and I'm not here to deal with hypotheticals."
With Cundiff watching from the sidelines, rookie free agent Justin Tucker took full advantage of his opportunity, converting both of his attempted field goals from 33 and 53 yards. He also showed off his tackling prowess (he tied the Texas Longhorns lead in special teams tackles, eight, last season), storming down the field after one kickoff to log his first of the preseason.
When asked if outsiders shouldn't read too much into Tucker getting all the work against the Jags, Head Coach John Harbaugh said, "Well we'll see. We have some decisions here again next week so we'll just have to see how that goes."
The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec didn't see the head coach's answer as a positive sign for Cundiff.
"Harbaugh had an opportunity to tell reporters to not read too much into Tucker kicking [the] whole game and he didn't," Zrebiec tweeted, adding that the decisions Harbs is talking about next week is shaving the roster down to 75 players Monday.
Fans asked Zrebiec how to take Cundiff's reaction to not playing, admitting sometimes quotes come off the wrong way in print. One specifically asked if Cundiff is "malevolent" when answering questions about the competition.
"That might be a little strong of a word," The Sun writer replied. "[B]ut I think defensive and defiant, perhaps even bitter, are appropriate words."
Prediction: 'Stud' Flacco Becomes Elite This Year
Quarterback Joe Flacco put on a show for spectators in just 2 ½ quarters of play last night, and NFL analyst Ross Tucker of ESPN and SiriusXM NFL Radio wanted to make sure everyone understood what they were seeing.
"Flacco is a total stud," Tucker tweeted after Flacco finished his work. "If U don't see that by now I can't help U. [Arizona coach Ken] Whisenhunt would cut off his pinkie for Flacco."
Flacco went 27-of-36 for 266 yards, two touchdowns, one interception and a 102.3 quarterback rating. The numbers were clearly impressive, but it's just the latest evidence of something bigger happening.
When talking with Flacco's coaches and teammates, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora said the message he gets is always the same: "The days of Flacco being a talk-radio whipping boy, or subject of national debate, were over.
"He is evolving into an elite quarterback."
As such, La Canfora said the time to sign Flacco to a contract extension is now. If the Ravens wait any longer, his price tag could skyrocket.* *Sources told the NFL Insider that the two sides have made considerable progress, but they haven't been able to finalize things with the season opener around the corner.
"[T]he Ravens have an impeccable record of retaining, and rewarding, their best young talent. Don't risk spending more down the line. Don't risk Flacco sitting out all of the next offseason, a la Drew Brees, while on the franchise tag. Do it now," La Canfora wrote.
"I'm not one to go too gaga over any preseason performance, but if Flacco looks anything in the real games as he did tonight in carving up what was a strong Jaguars defense in 2011, then no one will begrudge him being paid like a top 10 quarterback."
Door Now Wide Open For Omar Brown
If you're rooting for rookie free agent safety Omar Brown (you know, the guy who notched a turnover hat trick in the preseason opener and added another turnover and an onside kick recovery the next week) to make the Ravens 53-man roster, his chances got a whole lot better Thursday night.
Unfortunately, that opportunity comes after top reserve Emanuel Cook sustained a season-ending broken leg last night, plus Sean Considine suffered a concussion.
"Wouldn't gloss over Emanuel Cook's season-ending injury," tweeted Zrebiec. "He was one of their top reserve safeties and one of their best special teamers.
"His injury – and Sean Considine's second concussion in as many weeks – could open the door for undrafted FA Omar Brown to make the team."
Ravens WRs 'Have Arrived'
The team has been saying it for months – this year's group of receivers is the deepest the Ravens have ever had.
National analysts are starting to take notice.
"Ravens' wideouts have arrived," tweeted ProFootballTalk.com's Mike Florio.
And the decision of who to cut isn't getting any easier. Many of the receivers behind the top three (Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones) all made their case for a roster spot Thursday night.
Sixth-round pick Tommy Streeter notched his first touchdown of the preseason, hauling in a 33-yarder from quarterback Curtis Painter. Tandon Doss picked up three receptions, two coming on critical third-down situations to keep the chains moving. LaQuan Williams made two impressive grabs, one for 35 yards and an 8-yard touchdown. Logan Payne and Deonte Thompson each made some impressive grabs of their own.
"The WR competition gets more interesting by day: Doss, L.Williams, Streeter, Payne, Thompson all made plays today," tweeted Zrebiec. "Gonna be tough WR cuts."
Pollard Ready To Be Unleashed
Bernard Pollard is like a biting bulldog on a leash, waiting to be unchained to attack his prey.
You couldn't miss the intensity he brought to the game, especially after he blasted Jags tight end Zack Miller, who appeared to have a third-down catch secured until Pollard hit him and knocked the ball loose.
"Wow, [Defensive Coordinator Dean] Pees let the dogs out the cage tonight!!!" Pollard tweeted after the game. "Feeling so good right now."
But Pees only let them out briefly, hoping to save the more complicated defensive schemes for the regular season.
"The first two preseason games, we don't game plan for anything," Pollard told reporters. "For the little game-planning we did tonight, we stepped in and played well. We're still trying to keep everything simple with our defense."
Cornerback Lardarius Webb, who led the team with six tackles, credited Pollard for motivating him and the rest of the defense to play at a higher level.
"When you see B.P. out there playing football, you understand that, oh, he's giving 100, 200 percent," Webb said. "He's going at it and trying to hurt someone every play - not literally hurt someone, but he's going at them. That makes the defense get even more fired up."
- Be afraid of , says Florio. The PFT.com columnist enjoyed watching Ngata blast through the Jags offensive line untouched to smother quarterback Blaine Gabbert. [PFT.com]
- "Undrafted rookie running back Bobby Rainey (Western Kentucky) should have secured a spot as the team's third running back," wrote Jamison Hensley. [ESPN]
- "Although the NFL's replacement officials have been almost universally criticized for a series of suspect calls during the preseason, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson said he's noticed encouraging signs of improvement," wrote Aaron Wilson. [The Baltimore Sun]
- @jeffzrebiecsun: It also probably isn't a good sign for that he got no carries while Pierce got 10 and Rainey saw action in 1st half. [Twitter]
- @Ravens: Looks like Dennis Pitta's cast on his hand is gone. He's out getting a little jogging in before the game. [Twitter]
- @Ravens: #Ravens introducing the offense tonight and Jacoby Jones definitely wins the most creative entrance over Torrey Smith. [Twitter]
- @GinoGrad56: My mom busted thru security guards to introduce herself to @raylewis52com .. #relentless [Twitter]
- @vleach44: Great all around game by us today fine tuning things for cincy #Ravensnation [Twitter]
- @BPierce_30: Dedicating that game to my son! [Twitter]
- @brendon310: #RavenNation that's exactly what you should expect to see from your 2012 football team!! #BSHU BALL SO HARD UNIVERSITY! [Twitter]
- @BryantMckinnie: We had a goodtime on the field 2nite! S/O #RavenNation [Twitter]