Training Camp Battle: Shayne Graham vs Billy Cundiff

With only 4 days until the start of the Baltimore Ravens training camp in Westminster, Maryland we take a look at what I think will be the 5 most important position battles throughout the month. The 4th battle to pay attention to will be between kickers Shayne Graham and Billy Cundiff.

Since Baltimore has let go of Raven great Matt Stover, there has been a significant drop off in production from a position that at one time carried us to a Superbowl. The Ravens missed when they decided to make Steven Hauschka the starting kicker last year, and that decision led to much agony and even lost a game for us in Minnesota. However, the difference between the situation we were in last year and the one we are in now is that both guys have alot of experience in the NFL. Cundiff has hopped around from team to team, but was solid for the Ravens last year. Graham is the 4th most accurate kicker in league history.

Lets take a closer look at the battle between Graham and Cundiff.

Shayne Graham - 6'0" - 205 lbs - 10 Years Experience

  • Kicking Stats
    YEAR TEAM G FGM FGA PCT 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ LNG XPM XPA PTS
    2001 BUF 6 6 8 75.0 0 4 0 4 0 41 7 7 25
    2002 CAR 11 13 18 72.2 1 4 3 8 2 50 21 21 60
    2003 CIN 16 22 25 88.0 0 5 10 8 2 48 40 40 106
    2004 CIN 16 27 31 87.1 0 7 12 8 4 53 41 41 122
    2005 CIN 16 28 32 87.5 0 11 11 9 1 49 47 47 131
    2006 CIN 16 25 30 83.3 0 9 9 8 4 51 40 42 115
    2007 CIN 16 31 34 91.2 1 12 13 7 1 48 37 37 130
    2008 CIN 14 21 24 87.5 1 5 7 11 0 45 15 15 78
    2009 CIN 16 23 28 82.1 0 11 10 3 4 53 28 29 97
    Career 127 196 230 85.2 3-3 64-68 67-75 53-66 9-18 53 276 279 864
  • Graham has been one of the leagues best kickers over the last 8 seasons. While in Cincinnati, he was known as someone who made kicks in the regular season, but struggled in clutch situations. Graham has been a pro bowler before and definitely still has much left as a kicker in the NFL.
  • What Graham has to do: First off, he will have to make his kicks and show us he still has a big leg Whether they come in the practices or games, Graham must show that he can indeed be a guy we can rely on to get us 3 points when they are needed most. Not only will he be needed to make the 30-40 yard kicks for us, but this team is looking for someone who can kick that ever so important 50+ yard kick where 3 points can be the difference in a game against Pittsburgh or Cincinnati.

Billy Cundiff - 6'1" - 207 lbs - 6 Years Experience

  • Kicking Stats
    YEAR TEAM G FGM FGA PCT 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+ LNG XPM XPA PTS
    2002 DAL 16 12 19 63.2 0 3 7 8 1 48 25 25 61
    2003 DAL 15 23 29 79.3 0 11 6 7 5 52 30 31 99
    2004 DAL 16 20 26 76.9 1 6 4 13 2 49 31 31 91
    2005 DAL 6 5 8 62.5 1 1 5 0 1 56 14 14 29
    2006 NOR 5 0 1 0.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
    2009 CLE 5 6 6 100.0 1 4 1 0 0 31 4 4 22
    2009 BAL 7 12 17 70.6 0 5 7 3 2 46 19 19 55
    Career 70 78 106 73.6 3-3 30-30 21-30 20-31 4-12 56 123 124 357
  • Cundiff came into Baltimore mid-season last year and was solid for us when we were struggling at the position. Even though he did miss 5 field goals, the 7 that he did make were very big for us. Billy is perfect for his career from kicks under 30 yards, but has struggled from 40-49 and 50+ yard kicks. 
  • What Cundiff has to do: Much like Graham, Cundiff simply has to make his kicks. He has had a solid, but not great career compared to Graham. Converting only 73.6% of his kicks in his career is not exactly the greatest, but for right now he is a good stop gap. Cundiff has been all over the NFL and it might be because he does not have what it takes to make kicks in pressure situations, but he did that for us last year. Cundiff will have to continue to show that he can handle the pressure of scoring for a Superbowl contending team.

Other Kickers who could be in contention for the spot: Terrence Cody

Who wins the battle for Kicker: As good as Cundiff has been for us, I feel as if Graham is going to walk away with this. Yes, he did not help his cause with that playoff performance last year but Graham is still a very good kicker. A change of scenery might just do the job for him, especially with the motivation to prove everyone in Cincinnati wrong. The one thing that concerns me is Graham's power on kick offs, where many have said he has a hard time getting it to the endzone, but so does Cundiff. This is a very simple job to win, just make the kicks and that person will be the kicker for the Ravens in 2010.

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