Tucker had been the NFL‘s only perfect kicker until he had an attempt blocked Monday night in New England. That ended a streak of 35 field goals in a row, the fifth-longest in league history.
While I’m sure that statement drew some eye rolls and snickers at first glance, I truly believe Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker deserves serious consideration for the league’s top honor based on his production and performance this season. The fifth-year pro has nailed each of his 27 field-goal attempts, including seven from 50-plus yards, and is a perfect 15-for-15 on extra points.
One big difference between the kickers is that Tucker plays in tougher weather conditions in an outdoor stadium in Baltimore, while Bailey has the advantage of kicking inside for home games.
“I think you always strive for perfection — whatever that means,” Tucker said. “More than anything, I just want to be successful so that we are all successful. We’ve seen it enough times around here that close games are won or lost by one possession. That means that I’m going to be a factor, buy nfl jerseys and as long as we’re doing what we’re doing, we won’t just be a factor, we’ll be on the winning edge.”
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The poll is conducted by getting the top five MVP candidates from 13 panelists.
While you may laugh at someone suggesting Tucker as the MVP of the league, remember he wouldn’t the first kicker to capture this award. In 1982, Washington’s Mark Moseley was the NFL MVP.
After Tucker kicked a 36-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, he has now kicked an NFL-best 34 field goals in a row. He is the only perfect kicker this season, making all 27 field goal attempts, including 7-for-7 from 50 yards and longer. He was 8-of-19 from 50-plus yards in 2014 and 2015.
“He did everything that we asked all of the position players to do,” said former Texas Associate Athletic Director of Strength and Conditioning Jeff “Mad Dog” Madden. “He worked as hard any player that we had here, but he was also smart and technical when it came to his craft. … He understood the mechanics of kicking, but he didn’t overthink it. He simply lined up and made big kicks.”
Tucker leads the team with 96 points and ranks third in the NFL behind fellow kickers Matt Bryant and Dustin Hopkins. Although we’ve grown accustomed to seeing kickers at the top of the list, Tucker accounts for 44 percent of the Ravens’ scoring output and he should be viewed as a top offensive player based on his contributions. Considering how coaches value playmakers at a premium, John Harbaugh and the rest of the league should treat Tucker like a franchise quarterback, running back or wide receiver.
Prater believes it could happen in a dome, early in the season in a warm climate or in his former home — and McManus’ current home — Denver, where the altitude helps. But Prater, like Tucker, showed this week he definitely has the leg to make it. He just needs to get the opportunity.
Specialists are known as such for that very reason: They excel at one specific task. Kickers today are better than ever, but not 84-yard-field goal better, thin air or not. These guys take pride in their craft, but aren’t going to let extreme claims, serious or otherwise, just pass through without resistance. McManus must protect his house.
“I would rather go to a circus, a carnival, a fair or even a medieval festival and watch cotton candy be made before I watch Justin Tucker and the other guy practice kicking pregame to see the evolution of kicking,” Smith said. “Sorry. Now you know where I stand.”
The reason cited for the Redskins’ proposal is player safety. By giving the opportunity for improved field position, teams presumably would attempt more kicks into the end zone, and that would result in fewer returns, which are considered one of the most dangerous plays in the game because of the high-speed collisions.