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Tucker: Singing 'way more nerve-racking' than kicking


Tucker: Singing 'way more nerve-racking' than kicking

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker has hit a lot of high-pressure field goals for the Ravens. In fact, he's hit 10 game-winning kicks in his career, including three this season.

But singing "Ave Maria" in a packed basilica? Now that makes him nervous.

By now you've probably seen video of the tuxedo-clad Tucker's fabulous rendition of "Ave Maria" at a Catholic Charities benefit Christmas concert on Thursday night at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.

"It's way more nerve-racking to sing in front of a group of people, because quite frankly that's not really my element," Tucker said after the Ravens practice on Friday. "I mean, kicking a ball in front of tens of thousands of people in the stadium and then I know a bunch more watching on TV, that's totally our comfort zone. That's what I do and what I know so well."

Tucker studied music at the University of Texas, and his opera skills are well documented. He stunned his teammates at the team's rookie talent show in 2012 when he belted out a rendition of "O Sole Mio." And his opera skills have been featured in several commercials, including one currently airing for Royal Farms.

Still, he described the holiday concert as a "surreal experience to perform in front of a group like that, in that space as well at the basilica downtown. It was definitely very, very cool."

"Reviews have been positive, which is good," he said with a chuckle. "It is kind of cool to hear the reaction and see what people have been posting on social media. ... People have been really, really kind."

RELATED: QB picture still fuzzy, Clausen prepared to start

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Hot day of joint practice between Ravens and Eagles cut short

Hot day of joint practice between Ravens and Eagles cut short

PHILADELPHIA — On a day with the heat index at 100 degrees, the Ravens first joint practice in Philadelphia against one of the favorites to come out of the NFC ended about 45 minutes short.

This week is the Ravens' second joint practice of August, the first of which came when the Jaguars came to Baltimore for two days of practice before the preseason opener. 

“The best thing is I think the tempo ramps up a little bit,” coach John Harbaugh said on joint practices. “You get different guys, different schemes. I do think it notches up one or two clicks, which is good for you. This is a really talented football team, the Eagles, so we get a chance to see some really good players.”

Even with some positive feelings from the practice, there were, and still are, a few question marks about the Ravens and their available bodies. 

Kenneth Dixon, Gus Edwards, and Miles Boykin were notable absences from practice from the start. Left guard Jermaine Eluemanor left practice early, and Ronnie Stanley and Mark Ingram didn’t take reps towards the end of practice.

With the heat beating down, it’s unclear if they were related to the weather. Harbaugh had no updates after practice, for players that missed the entirety, or players that left early.

The practice was ruled by defense, though, as the Ravens offense had trouble scoring in the red zone most of the afternoon. One of the biggest highlights, however, was a diving catch by Mark Andrews in the back of the end zone. 

“The red zone is tough, the red zone is faster, coverage is tighter,” Harbaugh said. “Things have to be executed more quickly, more decisively. The windows are going to be closing quicker, they’re going to be smaller. Timing is really important, execution is everything. For a young quarterback, it’s a fast game as it is.”

Defensively, the Ravens secondary held its own against a talented Eagles offense. 

Notably, however, Earl Thomas was beaten on a deep route by Alshon Jeffery on a pass from Carson Wentz.

“What I’ve drawn from the last two joint practices is the competitive juices you get from going against a new team,” Thomas said. “Carson Wentz is not a pushover, it’s good to go against him. It’s good to go against that offense. Tight ends are pretty good, receivers are pretty good.”

The Ravens will practice with the Eagles once again tomorrow before a day off on Wednesday. The two will play, officially, on Thursday in the team’s third preseason game. 

Until then, they’ll just focus on getting better against a team that’s one of the league’s best.

“You see different routes, you see different combinations in the passing game, you see different quarterbacks,” Thomas said. “All of that is great.”


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Ravens Roundup: Team not changing much ahead of week three vs Eagles

Ravens Roundup: Team not changing much ahead of week three vs Eagles

Player News:

Lamar Jackson is going to once again play around 20 snaps in week three, as he has throughout August. Normally, this is the week in which the starters get the most reps, but the Ravens don't want to change things up with Jackson.

Cyrus Jones is preparing for a big opportunity as the Ravens' new top slot cornerback after the neck injury to Tavon Young.

Justice Hill continues to jump off the screen this preseason after rushing for 49 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries against the Packers in week two.

Looking Ahead:

Preseason Week 3: Thursday, August 22 at Philadelphia Eagles

Preseason Week 4: Thursday, August 29 at Washington Redskins

Week 1: Sunday, September 8 at Miami Dolphins, 1 PM