Here’s something to think about with the Baltimore Ravens and Justin Tucker:
The 2019-2020 Baltimore Ravens team was very good. After an offseason where general manager Eric DeCosta seemed to fill in some of the gaps that had been missing, you wouldn’t be crazy to think the Ravens may have gotten even better in preparation for next season.
Calais Campbell, Patrick Queen, and J.K. Dobbins are just three of many new additions who we believe will have immediate impacts. Adding on to a record breaking season led by the MVP, Lamar Jackson, there’s already a spotlight on the team that can be overwhelming for some players and even some fans. With so much talent and depth on the roster, it would be a mistake to overlook the Baltimore Ravens.
Great teams separate themselves from good ones based on how they perform when all eyes are on them. That is exactly how Justin Tucker has distinguished himself as not only the Ravens’ secret weapon, but as one of the single greatest players in the entire NFL.
After such a statistically remarkable regular season, the 2019-2020 Baltimore Ravens team had quite a lot to live up to in the playoffs. Unfortunately, now the 2020-2021 team has quite a lot to live down.
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The pressure of a full NFL season can be enough to wear down any athlete both mentally and physically. It’s fair to feel disappointed, and it is always easiest to look back on the past with hopes of what could have been than it is to learn from mistakes and grow. Blocking out the fans, analysts, and even players who were quick to mock and point fingers is the only way to sufficiently improve.
The youth of the roster became evident quickly as the season came to an abrupt end. The sad truth is that the loss to the Titans may have been exactly what this team needed in order to further fuel their fire. Not everyone is born with the clutch gene. That is something that simply cannot be taught, but it can be learned. On a team chock full of talent and raw athleticism, The Ravens’ most clutch performer only comes out on special teams.
Self-made Justin Tucker has made himself a living off of performing in the clutch. Coming out of the University of Texas, undrafted, Tucker has found himself a home in Baltimore. After having an extremely successful rookie season which resulted in a 90.0% field goal percentage and a Super Bowl ring for Tucker, he seemingly has yet to take his foot off the gas.
He responded to his outstanding rookie year by improving his field goal percentage to 92.7%. That 2013 season also happened to be the year Tucker was able to hit a 61 yard field goal against the Detroit Lions which ended up winning the game for Baltimore.
Now fast forward to 2020 and the Ravens’ Kicker still holds a field goal percentage of over 90%. He is currently sitting at 90.8% on his career; the best average percentage of all time. His accuracy is what makes him a historically great kicker; however, his clutch gene is what makes him a great Raven.
His game winning field goal last season against San Francisco was the 15th game winner that he’s had in his eight year career. Over those eight years of pure consistency, Tucker has accumulated over 1,000 points for the Baltimore Ravens on his own. That is 1,093 points to be exact. While it may be difficult to put these stats into perspective, it’s simply good to know that Tucker is in our corner.
When Tucker joined the team in 2012, he immediately was forced into competition for the starting job with the now infamous Billy Cundiff. Cundiff had just missed a 32 yard field goal against the Patriots in 2011 that would have given the Ravens a chance to fight in overtime for a trip to the Super Bowl. The job was very much up for grabs when Tucker arrived, and he proved his that his skill set would become valuable when he was given the opportunity to start in week three of the preseason against the Jaguars in 2012.
Tucker finished that game with six extra points and two field goals including one from 53 yards. Two days later Cundiff was released. The Ravens were willing to gamble on the undrafted rookie kicker, something most teams would have likely never done. Justin Tucker has now proven year in and year out that he will always be among the top kickers in the NFL.
The Bottom Line:
The Baltimore front office has wisely taken notice and action towards keeping Tucker in purple and black for as long as possible. On April 24th, 2019 Tucker signed a four year $20 million extension with roughly $12 guaranteed keeping him in Baltimore through the 2023 season.
Ray Lewis said it best himself:
"“Before anything great is really achieved, your comfort zone must be disturbed.”"
This Baltimore Ravens team is destined for greatness, you can see it in their eyes. When a football team becomes more than just a team, that’s when things start to really come together.
The haunting end of the 2011 Baltimore Ravens gave way to the 2012 Baltimore Ravens and an all time great kicker in Justin Tucker. The 2019 Ravens had their comfort zones disturbed, now in 2020, it’s time to achieve greatness.