On Friday night, Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff booted a field goal in a game at M&T Bank Stadium for the first time since his miss sealed the Ravens' fate in last year’s AFC championship game in Foxboro, Mass. There was a smattering of applause when he connected from 33 yards to give the Ravens a 3-0 lead in the first quarter of the 27-12 preseason loss to the Detroit Lions. He later added a 44-yarder.
Rookie kicker Justin Tucker, who is competing with Cundiff for a roster spot, made both of his attempts Friday. Tucker made a 50-yard field goal in the first half and a 45-yarder in the second.
Both have kicked well in training camp, but Tucker has been more accurate and showed off his big leg by making a 63-yard field goal at an open practice at M&T Bank Stadium two weeks ago.
Still, with all due respect to the success of Tucker, who was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent from Texas, Cundiff said after Friday’s game that “this is really a competition with myself.”
"I don't think my mentality has really changed. The way the coaches have approached me, the way everybody in the organization has approached me, is if I kick well, this is my job,” Cundiff said. “Even at the end of the season last year after we were up in New England, [coach John Harbaugh] looked at me and said, 'Yeah, you'll be fine.' And then the next day I talked to him and he said, 'If you kick well in training camp, this is your job and you're the guy.'
“So, that's been my mentality. This isn't necessarily a competition between myself and Justin. This is really a competition with myself. Again, I'm holding myself to the same standard I did in 2010. I've been meeting that and exceeding it. I feel like training camp has been going well for me."
It has for the most part, but he missed field goals from 24 and 34 yards in Monday’s practice.
“I think it was my best week of practice,” Cundiff said. “I think my misses in practice were from 52, 56, 58, 60 [yards] -- those kind of things. You're really judged by the kicks that you're supposed to make. I think if you look at my stats in training camp I'm like 90 percent inside 55 [yards]. If you track down my training camp from 2010, I'm better than I was that year.”
Cundiff’s confidence was clearly high on Friday night -- which is obviously a good thing, right?
“I feel like kicking in this stadium for me, I'm not going to say I can't miss, but I've got all the confidence in the world,” he said. “I feel like I'm going to go out there and I'm going to make the kick. So, it's just good to get back in that. I get a chance to get some kicks under my belt."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun