BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 23: Place kicker Justin Tucker #6 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates a field goal against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the second second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium on August 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
After a long, close battle between Billy Cundiff and Justin Tucker, the Baltimore Ravens have finally picked who will be kicking field-goals for them this season. Earlier this morning Billy Cundiff was cut, which means Justin Tucker has officially won the battle for kicker. This comes after not using Billy Cundiff once in Thursday's game against the Jaguars foreshadowed the eventual move.
While some people may be concerned about giving a rookie this responsibility, I think it is a great move. Billy Cundiff has been a consistent kicker over the last couple of years, but his ability to "perform in the clutch" has been greatly questioned since last year's AFC Championship game. Tucker, on the other hand, has been a very consistent player throughout college and to this point in the pre-season. During his time with Texas, Tucker only missed 8 field goals (missing none from inside the 40). And since Tucker is only 22, he has plenty of time to develop a more consistent long-distance kick.
I think another reason why the Baltimore Ravens decided to make this move is because of Tucker's versatility. Tucker was originally recruited as a punter for Texas, averaging 41.3 yards-per-punt in his four years with the team. This is important, because if Sam Koch every gets hurt Justin Tucker can step in as a replacement. Also, Justin Tucker tied Texas for most special teams tackles last year with eight.
I think the Ravens are getting a confident, young, and versatile kicker who has room to grow with this move. Hopefully he can handle this responsibility and be a very good players for years to come. Also, I wish the best of luck to Billy Cundiff wherever he may go from here!