PLEASE NOTE:The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
For the second year in a row, the Ravens' kicking situation has led up to a training camp showdown.
Billy Cundiff is the incumbent, taking over for the ousted Steve Hauschka in the middle of last season. But Baltimore went out and signed former Pro Bowler Shayne Graham to add to the excitement.
The Ravens could take this one to the final cut, considering they did the same thing last year with Hauschka and Graham Gano.
BaltimoreRavens.com takes a look at the competition among specialists:
K Billy Cundiff, 6th seasonWhat He's Done:Cundiff was signed in Week 10 and immediately connected on a franchise-record-tying five field goals in six tries against the Indianapolis Colts. He was clutch, finishing the 2009 campaign nailing 12 of 17 attempts with Baltimore despite dealing with a few poor field goal operations.
What He's Going For:Obviously, Cundiff wants to keep his job. Drilling down further, the journeyman is looking to hold on to his position for consecutive years for the first time since he was with the Dallas Cowboys from 2002-05.
What He Needs To Do:The preseason games are critical for Cundiff, especially considering the fact that he will be the first kicker to head out there in the preseason opener. Start off with a miss and he gets the first black mark on his resume. Kickoffs are an added bonus.
K Shayne Graham, 11th seasonWhat He's Done:The fourth-most accurate kicker in NFL history spent a prolific seven years with the Cincinnati Bengals, but likely sealed his fate by missing 35- and 28-yard field goals against the New York Jets in the 2009 playoffs. Still, he was a respectable 23-of-28 on field goals last season.
What He's Going For:Graham is simply hoping to get a job. Further, there is career redemption at the end of the line if he can beat out Cundiff.
What He Needs To Do:Again, the preseason is going to be huge. Any Cundiff miss must be followed by a Graham hit. If he can also show a strong leg in kickoffs, Graham could boost his chances.
P Sam Koch, 5th yearWhat He's Done:Koch was a rock again, as the former sixth-round draft pick punted 73 times for a 43.7-yard average, placing 26 inside the 20-yard line. His 37.9-yard net average is tied for the second-best of his career.
What He's Going For:Koch's goal is to simply improve. With no tangible competition, Koch has said he's challenging himself to improve both distance-wise and with placement.
What He Needs To Do:Attention to detail is key for Koch. Since he is the only punter on the roster, Koch will get the reps to work on the little things.
LS Matt Katula, 6th yearWhat He's Done:Katula played in all 16 games for the fifth-consecutive season and snapped on all 79 punts, 30 field goals and 47 extra points. He dealt with tendinitis issues in his elbow, which led to a few poor snaps, but overall, Katula continued his excellent performance.
What He's Going For:First, Katula entered the offseason looking to get healthy. From there, Katula is looking to continue building his relationship with Koch, who is the holder and punter.
What He Needs To Do:The Wisconsin product needs to rest, which he says he's done. He's been reliable over the years, so consistent snapping in the preseason will put last year out of everyone's mind.
LS Morgan Cox, RookieWhat He's Done:The undrafted free agent played in 38 games at Tennessee as a reliable snapper and someone that isn't afraid to make a special teams tackle.
What He's Going For:Cox is looking to beat out Katula, for starters. But if not, a practice squad spot.
What He Needs To Do:The rookie has to be flawless, simply put.