Five Things We Learned from the 'State of the Ravens' address
Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Van Valkenburg analyzes the Ravens' annual season-ending news conference.
Image 5 of 6
State of the Ravens( Gene Sweeney Jr, Baltimore Sun / January 15, 2012 )
5. It looks like the Ravens fully intend to bring back Billy Cundiff, although he may have to compete for his job in training camp. On some level, you have to admire that kind of loyalty. But you can't help but wonder how Cundiff will react when he misses a kick early in the season. Because fans will be brutal.
The Ravens have said a lot of nice things about Cundiff ever since he missed a kick that would have tied the game in the final seconds of the AFC championship. No one has publicly blamed him, Harbaugh has said he believes it will make Cundiff a better kicker, and Bisciotti said Wednesday he wasn't mad. He was heartbroken for Cundiff when the kick happened.
"When you work as hard as you do to put a team together like this, this is like watching your kids in high school play basketball. You don't scream at your neighbor's kid because he's not passing it enough," Bisciotti said. "They become like sons to you, so you feel for them. You can't get mad. This business is about managing your mistakes and managing your failures. Inopportune things like that kill these guys, and I die with them. I don't lash out. It's just different. You end up caring for these guys; you know how much time and effort they put in. It breaks your heart that somebody has got to be the goat, but if we had lost 35-10, then there'd be a lot of goats."
I'm always impressed at the way the Ravens make rational decisions as opposed to emotional ones. Teams like the Redskins tend to make emotional decisions, and as a result, their organization has looked rudderless for years. It makes sense, at least for now, to bring Cundiff back in the summer and see how he responds. Because the other options out there aren't great. Supposedly special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is a big advocate for Cundiff's return. But we really don't know how Cundiff is going to react the first time he pushes a kick wide right or hooks one wide left. Will the demons of the AFC championship creep into his head? What if a Steelers game comes down to a game-winning kick? What if that kick determines who wins a division title, or grabs home-field advantage?
I've said a couple times, Matt Stover probably spoiled Ravens fans a little bit. Cundiff clearly isn't Matt Stover. What kind of kicker is he? 2012 should give us an interesting answer.