This is all about Tucker now. So fire away. Start with something like “Glenn, what makes you think Tucker is better suited than former Raven Steve Hauschka for long-term success in Charm City?”
I’m glad you asked. I feel like Hauschka was never supposed to be the team’s kicker. When the Ravens decided to part ways with Stover, Hauschka had been serving as kickoff specialist with an occasional long field goal attempt thrown in. Instead of turning the gig over to Hauschka, the team brought in undrafted rookie Graham Gano, but only after attempting to obtain current Kansas City Chiefs K Ryan Succop, who had been selected in the 7th round.
The ensuing competition had the makings of an exciting battle, but was instead at times an exercise in futility. While both kickers are still employed in the National Football League, neither made a significant claim to win the job. Making matters worse for Hauschka, he was viewed by at least some of the fan base as the reason why their kicking hero Matt Stover was no longer in town. It was an unenviable position to say the least.
So try me again. “Hey Glenn, what makes you think Tucker is better suited than Cundiff for long-term success in Charm City?”
This one is a bit more difficult considering Cundiff reached a Pro Bowl as a Raven and set the league record for most touchbacks in a single season. But upon his arrival in Baltimore, I received a good bit of heat for my “he’s not a legitimate NFL kicker, he’s just the guy they signed for the moment” response.
I don’t have any issue with saying that for as commendable as Cundiff was in Foxborough, he had a bit of a mercurial nature from the moment he arrived. As I heard Cundiff discuss his “routine” and the role it played in his title game miss, I couldn’t help but think of it as almost a personality flaw. Cundiff had almost a mechanical nature, making him unlikely to be ready to succeed when “reaction” was more important than “preparation.”
Tucker SEEMS like the type of kid who has more of a “go with the flow” attitude. He comes off as difficult to rattle. He may truly be a gem.
He won’t have much time to work his way into that role. If called upon to make kicks September 10th against the Cincinnati Bengals, the rookie from Texas will need to be ready to deliver immediately.
If he doesn’t, it won’t be long before we’re yearning for the days of Cundiff.