Owings Mills-The drama of the Ravens kicking situation continued on Saturday, as Billy Cundiff was still present and on the field and working with the specialists for the team’s practice session available to the media.
Cundiff, who has been widely criticized for his 32-yard field goal miss in the AFC Championship game last season among other struggles, has been competing with rookie kicker Justin Tucker in camp for the team’s job at the position.
And the situation got even more intriguing Wednesday night before the Ravens eventual 48-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, as Ravens coach John Harbaugh named the rookie Tucker as the team’s sole kicker for their third preseason game the following night.
Tucker excelled-going two-for-two in his attempts from 33 and 53-yards.
Tucker was excited and thrilled leading up to the game, and said he appreciated the fact that he was given a fair opportunity to compete.
Meanwhile, Cundiff, who did suit up and watched from the sidelines, certainly showed his frustration with the situation in the locker room following the game.
“I found out before this game that I wasn’t going to get any reps, which shocked me,” Cundiff said. “I felt like I had a really good week of practice. So, it’ll just play itself out.”
Cundiff defended himself, and he brought up his 90% completion percentage on kicks below 50 yards, and his 12-of-13 record in the playoffs. And that’s where Cundiff said he feels like he deserves better.
“I feel like if that’s not good enough, I’ll take my services elsewhere to be perfectly honest,” Cundiff replied.
The Ravens have to make 15 cuts on Monday by 4PM to trim the roster limit to 75.
If Ravens coach John Harbaugh and the staff feel like Thursday was enough of a test to give Tucker the job, they would save roughly 1.8 million this season in cap savings by cutting Cundiff, as reported by the Baltimore Sun.
Harbaugh said the team will not be hurt by either kicker’s departure, and know what each of them has in store with their abilities.
“Obviously both of them bring something to the table..I dont think it’s as complicated with what the factors are, so we’ll just have to make a decision.”
But Harbaugh said they will not make any rash choices until they have to.
“I don’t think we’ve made any decision yet,” Harbaugh said. “We’re on schedule. We learned what we needed to learn. If it was an easy decision, we would have made it.”
“Why should we rush that? We can get as much information as we can.”
Dickson, Pitta return to practice
While Ravens fans may be hoping to see Billy Cundiff absent from team practices, they may be encouraged to hear about tight ends Dennis Pitta and Ed Dickson’s return to the practice field Saturday in limited fashion.
Both were in uniform and doing light running and catching with tight ends coach Wade Harman.
Pitta has been slowly working his way back from a broken right hand suffered in the first days of training camp.
“It feels really good being able to practice a little bit-run around, catch a few balls but not at full-speed, but it feels good to be back certainly,” Pitta said.
Pitta said his right hand and wrist feel better each day, and he expects to be back ready to go with Joe Flacco for the season opener against the Bengals.
“I think being able to get out there and run around and actually catch the ball a little bit certainly helps my confidence. And it helps me understand that I will be back playing soon enough.”
Having missed the first three preseason games with Flacco, you could say that Pitta might be off-track with his quarterback.
But Pitta denied that, saying that he’s already built enough of a rapport with his quarterback in his first two NFL seasons.
“That’s something we’ve been developing for a few years now, and I don’t think it’s something that you lose right now,” Pitta said, “and I don’t think it’s something that you lose right away. I think it will come back quickly once I’m able to start jumping in there and running with the offense.”
Dickson meanwhile is nursing a sprained right shoulder that he sustained in the team’s preseason opener against the Atlanta Falcons.
“I feel really good,” Dickson said. “It’s tough not to be out there, and once you get a chance to be out there for a little bit, you go out there with all smiles.”
Dickson said it’s pained him more to not be able to practice than it has to raise his arm or catch a pass.
“I’m a competitor,” Dickson said. “I don’t like sitting out for anything-it doesn’t matter if it’s a scrimmage or a game. Just missing these preseason games was tough on me.”
Dickson has been encouraged on his return and his role in the Ravens’ new “Sugar Huddle”, no-huddle offense.
“That’s all we did at Oregon,” Dickson said of his time in college. “I like it. I think it helps us out because we get more plays, and it puts the defense on their toes.”
Those absent from practice Saturday included LB Terrell Suggs (Achilles), G Marshal Yanda (leg), T Jah Reid (calf), WR/KR David Reed (ACL), S Emanuel Cook (broken leg), S Sean Considine (concussion), LB Stevie Baggs, Josh Bynes, WR Tommy Streeter and Ryan McBean (ankle).
Cook appears to be out for the year after suffering his leg injury Thursday, and both Considine and Baggs received their injuries in Thursday’s game as well.
This is the second concussion in preseason for Considine, so the team will have to be careful with that going forward.
WR Tommy Streeter, who caught two passes for 40 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars, received an MRI for a sprained foot Friday.
He had been battling back problems in camp, but told WNST, “I’m fine. Everything’s okay. Just a little banged up.”
Given the decisions the Ravens have at the wide receiver position, it also could be forseen that the Ravens may try to stash Streeter on IR to avoid having to cut him Monday.
Streeter has been raw so far, but certainly is an intriguing and difficult piece to give up given his 6’5” frame. If the team were to place him on IR, he would not be allowed to practice with the team.
CB Corey Graham returned to practice after suffering a stinger in Thursday’s game.
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