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A push could help

The Baltimore Sun

The photo that accompanies this text should probably have included a fake beard and dark glasses, but hear me out.

First and foremost, any coach in the NFL will tell you competition is a healthy thing. Secondly, the NFL is a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league and is all about winning.

While Matt Stover will go down as one of the most accurate kickers in league history, is an all-time fan favorite here and might very well deserve his day in Canton, Ohio, the 40-year-old, 18-year veteran is currently not performing to the high standard he has set.

For the season, he has connected on just four of seven field-goal attempts and has missed all three tries from more than 40 yards - including a pivotal, momentum-breaking wide right with 14 seconds left in the first half of Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Tennessee Titans. All of Stover's misses have been wide right or left and not short, an indication that he still has the leg.

While the free-agent pickings might be slim, what's wrong with bringing in another kicker to have all the bases covered? Maybe the Ravens invite a guy who has an incredible workout and goes on to win the team some big games. Or, more likely, maybe another leg in practice gives Stover a motivational nudge to get him kicking straight again.

In 1999, Brian Billick's first year as coach, the Ravens invited current San Francisco 49ers kicker Joe Nedney in to give Stover a push after he started the season 1-for-3 on field goals. Stover, the true professional, responded well and went on to make 27 of his 30 tries from that point on.

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