*"The Competition" is a BaltimoreRavens.com series that breaks down every position leading up to training camp. *
Billy Cundiff (6-foot-1, 212 pounds): Cundiff has been the Ravens starting kicker for the last 2.5 seasons, and the organization has been clear that he has the edge on the starting job heading into the season. A key for Cundiff will be to show that he's moved on from missing a game-tying, 32-yard field goal in last year's AFC championship.
Cundiff discussed that process during Organized Team Activities in May, saying that his confidence is "as high as it’s ever been" going into this season.
Another component to the position battle will be how Cundiff performs from long-range, as that was an area where he struggled last year. Cundiff made just one of six field goals from 50 yards or longer last season, and he has focused on improving that element of his game.
Justin Tucker (6-0, 180, Texas): Tucker has been fighting for a job since he first arrived in Baltimore for a tryout during rookie minicamp. A solid performance during that weekend earned him a spot on the 90-man roster. Since then he has shown promise during offseason practices, catching the attention of the local media by booming long kicks throughout practice.
The Texas product made 40 of 48 career field goals in college and he said that he’s looking forward to challenging Cundiff for the job.
"I look forward to it, coming in and competing against a guy that's had success in the league," Tucker said. "It'll be a challenge, but it will be fun."
This is expected to be one of the most closely watched competitions throughout training camp. Cundiff has to show to coaches, teammates and the fans that he has overcome last year's miss and is able to make kicks in pressure situations. Tucker is out to prove that he can make the jump to the NFL, and he has his work cut out for him if he's going to unseat an eight-year veteran.
Some speculated at the end of last season that the Ravens would bring in a veteran to challenge Cundiff during training camp, but the performance of Tucker during offseason workouts showed that the undrafted kicker has the leg and confidence to make him a worthy competitor.
"[Tucker] has done nothing to make us think that he can't handle that competition," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "There is always competition."