Kicker Battle In Coaches’ Hands

John Harbaugh is hoping another team makes the Ravens a trade offer.

Posted by Ryan Mink on Friday, September 3rd, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Categories: Ryan Mink

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Neither Shayne Graham nor Billy Cundiff had an opportunity to let their foot make a closing statement in their argument to be Baltimore’s kicker Thursday night, as the Ravens didn’t attempt a single field goal.

Thus, one of the most important decisions in selecting the Ravens’ 53-man roster is in the coaches’ hands now. And it’s going to be a tough call.

“I don’t know if we’ve seen enough to make a clear determination because they’ve both done so well,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said after the Ravens’ 24-21 loss to the St. Louis Rams. “Either way we go, it’ll be a good decision.”

The Ravens didn’t spend time kicking field goals in practice Friday morning and didn’t get one last look. Despite Thursday’s non-action, Baltimore’s coaches and front office have plenty of kicks to judge from.

Cundiff was perfect on three preseason attempts from 25, 26 and 42 yards. He had great distance on kickoffs with four touchbacks in 10 attempts and a 72.1 average.

Graham, whom the Ravens signed to a one-year deal this offseason, made 2-of-3 attempts from 24 and 32 yards. He missed from 50 yards. Graham also showed good distance on kickoffs with two touchbacks in nine attempts and a 70.6 yard average.

The two veteran kickers were both reliable throughout camps and practice. If trying to give any edge from practice, Cundiff looked a bit more consistent than Graham, the fourth-most accurate kicker in NFL history.

Graham said he’ll spend the next day trying to distract himself from thinking about what the decision will be.

“I feel that I’m confident in what I do,” Graham said. “I feel I strike the ball well. I feel like even with down years, I’m still at 80 percent or 85 percent [field goal percentage]. I feel like I’m a guy that a team can count on to put points on the board.”

Since the battle is so close, Harbaugh is hoping a team in search of a kicker makes a trade offer, which would make the decision easier. But don’t count on it.

“I’m quite certain whichever way we don’t go, he’ll be kicking for a team the next day,” Harbaugh said. “We would love to get a call from somebody. But they’ll probably wait, knowing that we’ve got to let one go and there will be a bidding war.”

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