Tucker: 'I'm kicking the best I've ever kicked'

Undrafted rookie credits John Harbaugh, Jerry Rosburg and Randy Brown with tweaking his form and enjoying success

August 23, 2012|By Edward Lee

Justin Tucker wrapped up his career at the University of Texas ranked third all-time in field-goal accuracy with an 83.3 conversion rate (40-of-48). He’s having an even better time with the Ravens.

The rookie kicker has connected on 93.2 percent (96-of-103) of his kicks in practices this preseason. Add his 5-of-5 performance in three exhibitions, and Tucker’s success rates rises slightly to 93.5 percent.

Tucker, who took all the field goals, extra points and kickoffs in the team’s 48-17 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday night, said he’s never had the kind of preseason that he’s having now under the watchful eyes of coach John Harbaugh, special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg and kicking consultant Randy Brown.

“I really do feel like I’m kicking the best I’ve ever kicked, and that’s a big testament to what Coach Rosburg and Coach Harbaugh and Randy Brown have been able to do with me since I’ve been here,” Tucker said after the game. “To the naked eye, it doesn’t look like I’ve made a lot of changes, but I’ve made a complete transformation from the kicker that I was in school to the kicker I am now. I owe a lot of my recent successes to them because they’ve been on me about getting better at something every single day.”

Tucker appears to have grabbed the edge over incumbent Billy Cundiff, who is kicking 84.1 percent (90-of-107) and was relegated to watching Thursday night’s game from the sideline with a white ballcap on his head. Tucker said he has made certain changes in his kicking, including keeping his head over the ball a little longer after every kick, bringing his right leg downfield rather than across his body, and planting his left foot in the right place.

“Pretty simple things, but once you have other habits ingrained into your muscle memory, it’s kind of hard to change right off the bat,” Tucker said. “It took a little work, it took a couple days, and I now I feel like I’m striking the ball as confidently as ever.”
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