Baltimore Ravens Top Players of All-Time: Special Teams


Special Teams can sometimes be viewed as the spot you get when you weren’t quite good enough for offense or defense, but the team doesn’t want to let you go because they see potential in you.

That couldn’t be any more further from the truth.

Ask the kicker who has won a few games solely off of his field goals made. Or the kick/punt returner whose touchdown was the difference maker in a playoff sealing game. They’ll tell you that being a member of special teams is a special feat in itself.

But there are some who have just stood out above the rest of the pack. A pair of kickers and a pair of returners, to be exact. But lets say we could only select one of each. Who wins the roster spot?

Matt Stover (1996 – 2008) vs Justin Tucker (2012 – present)

Jan 10, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker (9) kicks a field goal as Ravens punter Sam Koch (4) holds the ball during the third quarter against the New England Patriots in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Two Super Bowl Champions. Two kickers who won at least one game en route to the Super Bowl, solely on their 3 or more field goals made. Two incredibly accurate and dependable kickers.

Matt Stover’s career as a Raven boasts accolades such as 402 extra points made, longest field goal made (55 yards), a Pro Bowl selection, an All-Pro honor, and it landed him at #6 on the all-time field goals made list.

Stover played a total of 207 games in the purple and black, and in each one of those games, he delivered. It’s also worth noting that he was the last to retire of the old Cleveland Browns who came to Baltimore to become Ravens in 1996. A pioneer to the core.

Justin Tucker is entering his 4th year as a Raven, and earlier this year signed an extension to stay in Baltimore for another season. In just 3 years, Tucker has already put up 7 game-winning field goals and connected on 97 out of 108, making him the most accurate kicker in the history of the league.

He also has a Pro Bowl selection, a First-Team All-Pro honor, and in 2013 was voted as the franchise’s MVP.  That’s a lot of accomplishments in just 3 seasons for an undrafted rookie out of Texas.

My pick: Justin Tucker.

So many accomplishments in such a short period of time says a lot, and it previews a lot of upside in the years to come.

Jermaine Lewis (1996 – 2001) vs Jacoby Jones (2012 – 2014)

Aug 7, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones (12) congratulates wide receiver Jeremy Butler (17) after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

When you compare the stats and contributions of these two during their time in the purple and black, it’s almost like a yin and yang effect. Jermaine Lewis excelled as a return specialist, with 111 returns of more than 20 yards.  18 of them went for more than 40 yards, and Lewis produced a total of 6 touchdowns. Jacoby Jones isn’t that far off with 102 returns of 20+ yards and another 14 going for 40+, with a total of 5 touchdowns.

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Both were contributors in the wide receiver rotation. Both had very memorable performances in their respective Super Bowl victories.  Jermaine Lewis’ return for a touchdown ended any hope of a possible comeback for the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXXV. Then there’s Jacoby Jones return touchdown that made the future look very dim for the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII (before the lights went out).

So who has the edge here?

In the thick of the situation, who better to fill in as a third receiver than Jermaine Lewis? Lewis scored 4 times more offensive touchdowns than Jones and proved to be a reliable option for several quarterbacks during his tenure (Testaverde, Banks, Dilfer). Jacoby gave us not one, but two 108 yard returns for a touchdown. Both on a kick return.

My Pick: Both. Jacoby for kick returns and Jermaine for punt returns. That settles that.

Oh and for the fun of it, let’s throw in one of the best special teams blockers in Ravens’ history: 2x All-Pro, 2x Pro Bowler, Super Bowl Champion and 2005, NFL leader in non-offensive touchdowns, Adalius Thomas. 

Next: Five Reasons the Ravens Will be Better in 2015

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