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Mack Brown: 'He never missed a critical kick'

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Mack Brown: 'He never missed a critical kick'

Indeed, Justin Tucker has range.

The undrafted rookie out of Texas not only won the starting job with the Ravens because of his stronger and more accurate leg but he also comes with a different vibe. He beat out Billy Cundiff, who was a veteran and in the Pro Bowl just two seasons ago.

"I got a chance to celebrate and call everyone in my family and a few of my good friends from school and let them know some good news," Tucker said Monday in his first remarks since winning the job over the weekend. "Right after that you have to put your head down and get right back to work."

One of those people Tucker communicated with was longtime Longhorns coach Mack Brown, who recruited him out of Westlake High School in Austin. Tucker's versatility stands out.

"I've text his dad a number of times and I text back and forth with Justin. We're really proud of him and know he'll do a great job for the Ravens," Brown told CSNBaltimore on Monday. "He's smart. Very smart. He's full of spirit and energy. He can rap and he can sing opera. That tells you the range of personality he has."

Really, Tucker does. He was a music recording technology major and auditioned to get accepted into his major by performing opera. He rapped with his Longhorn teammates.

More importantly, Tucker can kick. He not only was more accurate than Cundiff throughout training camp but he had the stronger leg. In last week's game vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tucker nailed a 53-yarder with plenty of room to spare.

"He's in great shape. He was an outstanding receiver and defensive back at Westlake High School on top of being a kicker so he's a very good athlete. He never missed a critical kick for us," Brown said of Tucker, who made 40 of 48 field goals (83.3) for Texas and never missed a fourth-quarter field goal. "When it got down to a tough kick he always made them. At the same time we had him punting, he can regular punt, he can rugby punt. We had him kicking off and we had him doing field goals and extra points. We really wore him out."

Speaking earlier in the day, Tucker maintains he has never dealt with adversity as a kicker, which seems inevitable in the NFL and especially the AFC North with outdoor winter conditions in Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

"I've never really had any major lows, or at least I wouldn't tell myself that I'd had any," Tucker said. "Just keep it simple and take one kick at a time. That's all you can do."

The first part of his comment mirrored what Brown said: "He's so confident if he had a rough spot he wouldn't think that. He'd work himself through it. He's a very tough guy mentally."

And what about the pressure? Cundiff cracked under it when he missed 32-yarder that would've sent last season's AFC Championship Game vs. the New England Patriots. Harbaugh said that wasn't a factor in choosing Tucker instead.

"We brought Billy back. If it had been, he wouldn't have been back," Harbaugh said. "We had confidence. Billy kicked well. Billy could very easily be the kicker here."

Brown is not concerned about Tucker under pressure. Tucker hit a 40-yarder as the clock expired in the final game of a long-held rivalry.

"The media here is like a pro media. We're considered like the pro team, from a media standpoint and exposure standpoint. We're like an NFL team in Austin," Brown said. "He kicked a last-second field goal to beat A&M in the last game of the rivalry at their place in front of 86,000 Aggies. It doesn't get much bigger than that if you're really looking at the pressure. He's more than prepared."

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Ravens place Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson on reserve/NFI list

With training camp just six days away, here is the latest news surrounding the Baltimore Ravens.

1. Ian Rapoport reported that the Ravens have placed Marquise Brown, Jaylon Ferguson and two others on the reserve/NFI list. He later added that Brown is still recovering from Lisfranc surgery but is "progressing well" and Ferguson is dealing with a "minor hamstring" injury.

2. The entire Baltimore Ravens class is officially under contract after the signing of wide receiver Miles Boykin. Boykin was a third-round pick out of Notre Dame.

3. Michael Vick joined The Sports Junkies on 106.7 The Fan Friday morning and when asked which young quarterbacks in the NFL most emulate his style, he answered: "Lamar Jackson" along with Kyler Murray and Cam Newton.

Looking Ahead:

July 24: Ravens training camp begins. Rookies are set to report a week earlier on Wednesday, July 17. 

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

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A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

A big Year 2 ahead, Lamar Jackson isn’t worried about Madden ratings

The number eight is sports royalty in the city of Baltimore thanks to Cal Ripken Jr.

If Lamar Jackson has the career many are hoping for, he’ll be another reason for that one day down the road.

For now, he’s a young, athletic quarterback entering his second season in Charm City. But his successful rookie year hasn’t been reflected in Madden NFL 20’s newest ratings.

Jackson came in with an overall rating of 76, tied for 24th among all quarterbacks. Unsurprisingly, his athleticism is highly-regarded, as he leads all signal-callers in speed, acceleration, agility, and elusiveness.

Questions abound about his throwing abilities, leading to the low rating. But that’s not a concern for Jackson himself.

“I can’t feel no way,” the quarterback told media members prior to throwing out the first pitch at the Orioles-Nationals game Wednesday night. “You know, I don’t make Madden. That’s them. But I feel like our team, we’re going to show ‘em this season.”

Jackson continued to praise the Ravens roster. When asked about the high ratings for teammates like Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Earl Thomas, Jackson put his thoughts quite succinctly: “We look stacked!”

Of course, with speed and acceleration ratings like Jackson has, it’s fun to imagine how he might fit in on a baseball diamond as well.

“Whew, somewhere in the middle, to make a play,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde decided when asked where the Ravens quarterback might play on his roster.

“I’m looking forward to meeting him. I’m a big football fan, so watched him play a lot. And if he wanted to play center field or up the middle, it’d be great,” Hyde continued.

The speedy quarterback agreed, though it came with a caveat.

“Probably,” Jackson quickly answered when asked about his best fit being center field. “But you know, I’m the Ravens QB right now, so I’m good.”

He doesn’t know what his walk-up song would be if he played baseball, but Jackson was definitive about one thing at least: his hot dog preferences.

“I don’t really eat mustard,” he emphasized. “So I just put ketchup, relish...I just go from there. Pretty standard.”

When he’s not eating hot dogs, Jackson is working hard to build chemistry with his new receiving corps, and he seemed optimistic about the results it will bring on the field.

“Looking pretty good,” he described. “You’ll have to see for yourself.”

Knowing how many dual Orioles and Ravens fans there are in Baltimore, Jackson was also happy to provide a little hope as the city’s attention starts to shift from baseball to football. He gave a message to O’s fans who have sat through months of losing baseball and are looking to the Ravens to bring winning back to the city.

“Look forward to us coming out and balling,” he said. “Can’t say too much right now, [the] season’s not here!”

The Ravens season will be here soon enough, and when it is, Jackson will be ready to go out and show both local and national fans what he can do, regardless of what his Madden rating says.

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