Cundiff knows he needs to find some answers from long distance

November 17, 2011|Kevin Van Valkenburg

Ravens coach John Harbaugh is a big believer in using stats to help him make decisions in the kicking game. He likes to know prior to the start of every game exactly what distance his kicker has been hitting from during warm-ups. He isn't interested in what a kicker's career best is, he wants to know how he's doing on a specific and in specific conditions.

So when he heard Billy Cundiff was kicking 58-yard field goals going both directions prior to the Ravens game against Seattle, Harbaugh felt good about calling on Cundiff to hit a long field goal. When Cundiff's 51-yarder against the Seahawks fell well short, the head coach wasn't particularly thrilled, in part because it's become a bit of a trend. Athough Cundiff is having a very good season from inside of 50 yards -- he's made 20-of-21 attempts -- he's just 1-for-6 from 50 yards and beyond. 

Harbaugh admitted that Cundiff's misses from deep may affect the decision to let him attempt more from that distance, especially as the weather gets colder.

"Those kind of long kicks are never easy kicks," Harbaugh said. "And you don't really want to give up that field position."

Cundiff said he understands it's going to be a tough call going foward, because he hasn't had success this year from long range.

"That's just the way things work," Cundiff said. "If I don't hit those kicks, it leaves him no option. We approach it as a unit, and we're working hard in practice to get another chance, and I know if I get more attempts, I know I'll make it. There are a lot of things I've had to overcome in my career and this is just one more thing. But coach has to do what's best for the team, not what's best for me. I know he's got a lot of confidence in me inside of 50. I've just got to make sure I increase his confidence outside of 50."

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