The battle between Justin Tucker and Billy Cundiff kicked up a notch in terms of intrigue on Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium, with Tucker handling all the Ravens kicking duties and Cundiff saying afterward that he was shocked with that arrangement.
Tucker, the rookie from Texas who has been superb all training camp, was 2-for-2 on field goals, hitting from 33 and 53 yards, and made all six of his extra-point attempts in the Ravens 48-17 rout of the Jaguars. Tucker also kicked off nine times, with five touchbacks.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh, though, cautioned against reading too much into that.
I think we know Billy, Harbaugh said in discussing the decision to go solely with Tucker. Billy would have come in here and made every one of those kicks. Billy is proven. Tuck is not proven. This is something that he needed. We needed to see if he could handle a whole game from beginning to end, and have the pressure on him, and obviously he handled it very well.
Tucker said he was told on Wednesday night that the Jaguars game was all his.
I was basically told from the get-go that they want to see how Im going to approach a game knowing that Im going to be the guy all four quarters, Tucker said, adding that he was pleased and happy for the opportunity.
That is in contrast to Cundiff, who said he had no idea until before the game that he would not be used. I felt like I had a really good week of practice. So itll just play itself out, he said.
Both kickers have excelled this preseason. Tucker is now 5-for-5 on field-goal tries in the three preseason games, including 2-for-2 from 50-plus yards. He has routinely hit 50-plus kicks in practice, and nailed a 63-yarder in the open practice at M&T Bank Stadium earlier this month.
Cundiff, whose miss in the AFC Championship Game last season is still fresh in some fans minds, is 2-for-2 in the preseason games and has also been impressive in practice.
Billy has had a great, great camp. Hes done really well, Harbaugh said.
But with one preseason game left and a final cutdown to 53 players due next Friday, somethings got to give.
We have to make some decisions here again next week, Harbaugh said. So well just have to see how that goes.
Said Tucker: All I can do is put my foot to the ball and use my training and go from there.
This is a professional atmosphere, he added. We come to work every day with a good attitude, and whatever happens, happens.