I probably should’ve saved a few hundred of the words I spent on last week’s missive about the Baltimore Ravens’ kicking competition.
Hey, at least I’m going to save you from a story about my 16th birthday party. (Although if you really want to know the details you can always feel free to email me. I always have stories.)
I’m glad our own Drew Forrester has taken the time to commend former K Billy Cundiff over and over again for how he handled himself after missing a crucial kick that cost the team a chance to send the AFC Championship Game to overtime. Drew has been right to point out that Cundiff could have made excuses, could have dodged reporters, could have gone into hiding and waited to hear his fate after an underwhelming season.
He didn’t do that. He manned up. It truly is commendable.
There’s a caveat to our praise however. The fact is that we all know that if Cundiff had made the kick and then given the Heisman to media members postgame we wouldn’t have batted an eye.
The fact is that the only thing any of us (rightly) care about was that in a situation where a team (and a city) counted on one player to do their job, the job wasn’t done.
We’ve been through this exercise repeatedly in the months since the Ravens fell just short of a Super Bowl return. I actually have no interest whatsoever in reliving that moment and determining what happened or who deserves blame. I’m just reminding everyone that while Drew is right to commend Billy Cundiff, there’s an obvious reason why such praise isn’t prevailing throughout Charm City to start the week.
I could not begin to tell you whether or not the Ravens made the right decision by releasing Cundiff Sunday and sticking with rookie K Justin Tucker for the 2012 season. I understand the reasoning behind the decision (I’m pretty sure I made a compelling argument for both specialists last Monday) and support the organization in making the move.
I also fought off the urge to headline this column “Good Tuck, kid” so I feel like I deserve a bit of credit here.
Tucker has a great opportunity to establish himself as an above average kicker for a franchise finally moving past the significant shadow of Matt Stover. Tucker has the opportunity to not just make crucial kicks for the Ravens in 2012, but perhaps also for future Ravens teams both competing for Super Bowl titles and (unfortunately) just trying to stay afloat in the AFC North.
Based on my early conversations with Tucker (the most recent of which-from last Wednesday’s episode of “The Reality Check” on AM1570 WNST.net-can be heard in the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault), I have every reason to believe Tucker is aware of the opportunity in front of him. He seems like an intelligent young man with what we can already tell is an exceptionally capable leg.
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