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Ravens rookie Justin Tucker gets his kicks in NFL

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Ravens rookie Justin Tucker gets his kicks in NFL

OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) Justin Tucker vividly remembers every detail of his first field goal try in the NFL.

The Baltimore Ravens were in the third quarter of meaningless preseason game in Atlanta last August. For a rookie placekicker, however, it was the national championship and Super Bowl rolled into one.

``That first kick - 36-yarder from the right hash, Georgia Dome - my heart was probably beating out of my chest a little bit,'' Tucker recalled Wednesday. ``But I stuck with what I know, I did what I always do, and the kick went right down the pipes. From that point on, I've been having fun with every single attempt.''

He's having a great deal of success, too.

Tucker is 11 for 12 on field goal tries and has made all 13 conversions attempts. He kicked the game-winning field goal as time expired against New England on Sept. 23, and last Sunday he scored all of Baltimore's points in a 9-6 win over Kansas City.

``In a sense, every kick is like, `Wow. This is awesome,''' Tucker said. ``I really try to treat every attempt exactly the same, whether it's an extra point, a field goal to win the game or a 50-plus yarder. It really shouldn't matter. I try to do the same thing every time.''

Tucker won the job over the summer from veteran Billy Cundiff, who subsequently signed with Washington. Cundiff was cut by the Redskins on Tuesday, further justifying coach John Harbaugh's gamble to keep the rookie instead of the veteran.

``I would describe him as a good kicker, first of all,'' Harbaugh said of Tucker. ``We love him. He's ours.''

Tucker's bout with nerves on that first kick in Atlanta might seem a bit strange, because at the University of Texas he played in far more important games and in front of bigger crowds. He had bigger kicks, too, most notably a 40-yarder against Texas A&M that gave the Longhorns a 27-25 victory.

Tucker was a solid kicker with Texas and very good when he got to Baltimore. Working with kicking consultant Randy Brown, special teams coach Jerry Rosburg and Harbaugh, a former special teams coach, made Tucker even better.

``I'm a completely different kicker than I was coming out of college,'' he said.

Holder Sam Koch says Tucker shows none of the traits usually associated with a rookie kicker.

``Coming into training camp we knew he was a rookie, but the way he's been kicking you don't see that a whole lot,'' Koch said. ``To be able to come in and be as consistent as he has been with ball striking, that's impressive. He's got a great personality and the mentality that you need to go out there and kick every Sunday. If he makes one or misses one, he just puts that behind him and moves onto the next one.''

Koch compared Tucker to Matt Stover, one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history and a member of the Ravens from 1996-2008.

``Stover was one of those guys, it didn't matter where the kick was, how far the kick was, what stadium it was, he always had solid ball-striking,'' Koch said. ``Tucker does, too. Hits a clean ball every time.''

There's nothing more deflating for a team than to play hard for 59 minutes and then have the final kick go awry. That's what Cundiff did in New England last year at the end of the AFC title game, swinging a 32-yard try wide to the left.

Tucker cashed in on his try against the Patriots, and his teammates are certain the next game-winner will split the uprights, too.

``He's a guy that has confidence all over him,'' defensive tackle Haloti Ngata said. ``You can see it. He doesn't let anything faze him, and it's pretty comforting to see that out of a rookie kicker.''

Tucker was born in Houston and played for Texas, so guess which team he grew up cheering for? The Cowboys (2-2), whom the Ravens (4-1) host on Sunday.

``I was always a Cowboys fan,'' Tucker said. ``My allegiance has certainly changed, and now I'm a 100 percent Baltimore Ravens fan.''

That doesn't mean he won't get a few chills on Sunday afternoon.

``There's still that wow-factor,'' Tucker said. ``It's amazing and fun. It was will be kind of cool to be playing the Boys with stars on their helmets.''

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Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

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USA TODAY Sports

Ravens lower concession prices at M&T Bank Stadium ahead of 2018 season

Enjoying a game at M&T Bank Stadium just became a little more affordable.

On Thursday, the Ravens introduced their new "Flock Friendly Fare," reducing the price of 21 of their most popular food and beverage items.  

The change comes as the organization focuses on revamping the fan experience in 2018. Fans will see an average of 33 percent in total savings and up to 53 percent savings on a single item.  

"As a lot of you probably know, after every game we survey fans to see how we're doing; what have we done well and what have we not done well. Over the years, one of the biggest criticisms we received was for the gameday concessions prices," Ravens President Dick Cass said on the team's website

Alcoholic beverages were all reduced by $1 with the addition of domestic 12 ounce beer for $5.

Chicken tenders with fries went from $11 to $7, while a slice of pizza went from $8.50 to $6. No single item will cost above $9.

On average, you will now be able to feed a family of four for $44 compared to $66.75 in years past. To see all of the reductions, click the arrow in the post below. 

In 2017, the Atlanta Falcons reduced their concession prices upon opening their brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Ravens, however, are expecting to lose $1.5 million in concession revenue due to the change. 

Introducing our new Flock Friendly Fare!

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

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Vegas odds against Lamar Jackson starting for Ravens in 2018

Vegas has spoken and they are not optimistic about rookie Lamar Jackson starting under center for the Ravens in 2018.

Bovado, an online gambling site, has set the odds on how the top 2018 rookies will perform and they have Jackson getting 0.5 starts this season.

That number will come as a surprise considering the popular narrative that Lamar Jackson will be the Ravens' starter in no time. The team made it clear they are planning for life after Flacco when they traded back into the first-round of the 2018 draft to select the quarterback out of Louisville at No. 32

Flacco - who is entering his 11th season with the organization - is experiencing a decline in his performance of late, one that can not be put entirely on his shoulders as the team has failed in finding him valuable weapons to throw to. Nonetheless, Flacco's projected 2018 season is very much up in the air and it appears Vegas is betting on the one-time Super Bowl MVP to bounce back. 

However, the Ravens have failed to make the playoffs four of the last five seasons, and if that trend continues into 2018, the rookie could get his shot at flipping the script.

If you're a betting man, it could payoff to bet the over on Jackson. Low risk, seemingly high reward. 

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