As the Monday cuts have come and gone, one of the first notable cuts was Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff. It took twenty-four hours for him to land on another team’s roster. The Washington Redskins added their 17th kicker in 18 years. Is it a case of another team’s cut is another team’s treasure? And did the Ravens make the best personnel decision by choosing a rookie over a proven veteran? You decide!
The kicker position is known to be a replaceable position, so if you don’t have the last name “Vinatieri,” then you can bet that at any time, the kicker on the team has to display flawless effort during training camp and in games or another kicker will replace them. Billy Cundiff’s replacement, Justin Tucker, has been accurate in all of his field goal attempts, has shown great upside and ability, and bottom-line, replacing Cundiff saves the Ravens organization millions of dollars. These reasons alone justify the move. Tucker’s accuracy has been noted during the preseason, yielding a 94% on field goal attempts and has wowed the fans with a 53-yard field goal in the third preseason game against Jacksonville. This kick sealed the Ravens’ coaching staff’s decision to keep Tucker over Cundiff.
Last season put Cundiff on the hot seat after missing a critical field goal in the AFC Championship game. After the game, Cundiff had unbelievable support from his teammates and from the organization. It reminds me in baseball, how managers’ days are numbered when they get those first votes of confidence from ownership; just ask Bobby Valentine (His time is on the horizon). On the other hand, the fans were not as lenient. He didn’t stand a chance in this Ball-So-Hard nation. Every sports station in Baltimore was flooded with calls of dissent asking for Cundiff to be cut. The fans’ wish has come to true and now it’s the rookie’s opportunity to make a mark on this season. His fate will be determined either way: success or being replaced. It all boils down to having made more field goal attempts, especially in crucial moments.
Cundiff’s proven record is what makes a case for why the Ravens should have retained him. According to Cundiff, in two years, he has a Pro Bowl under his belt, is 90% inside the 50-yard line, and with all touchbacks combined, has lead the league in touchbacks and has made 12 for 13 in field goal attempts in postseason play. During this preseason, he is 2-for-2 in field goal attempts. The Ravens didn’t think, however, it was enough to retain his services.
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