The Baltimore Ravens waived veteran kicker Billy Cundiff today. Cundiff and rookie kicker Justin Tucker battled it out in a kicking competition this preseason.
Tucker outshined Cundiff; The Baltimore Sun reported that Tucker hit 96 of 103 field goals (93.2%) in training camp practice while Cundiff hit 88 of 105 field goals 83.8%).
Head coach John Harbaugh admitted it was a hard decision:
“We learned what we needed to learn, but it’s not an easy decision,” Harbaugh said. “If it was an easy decision, we would have made it. It’s not an easy decision.”
Cundiff spent the last three seasons with the Ravens and made the Pro Bowl in 2010. He will be remembered most for missing the potential game tying field goal in last season’s AFC championship title game against the New England Patriots.
In what was likely a precursor to being cut, Cundiff did not receive any playing time in Thursday’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jags. Tucker played the entire game with two field goals from 33 and 53 yards.
After the game, Cundiff was “shocked and disappointed” by Tucker doing all the work and later said:
“If that’s not good enough, I’ll take my services elsewhere to be perfectly honest.”
Cutting Cundiff before the 53-man roster cuts gives him time to sign with another team.
Personally I am pleased with the Ravens decision to go with Tucker. He’s been impressive all preseason and has the potential to be the team’s long-term kicker. I never got over Cundiff missing the field goal and while I don’t place all the blame on him, it would have been hard for me to see him on the field again.
Time will tell is this was the right decision, hopefully it is. It can be risky to use a rookie kicker since experience gives you a better feel for how a ball should be kicked in some weather conditions.
What do you think? Do you agree with the Ravens decision to release Cundiff?