Justin Tucker: Is Kicker Baltimore Ravens’ MVP?
The 24-year-old celebrated his birthday last week and he sure has had a lot to be thankful for in 2013. His team won the Super Bowl last season. He recently got engaged to his fiancee. He has an awesome Dr. Pepper commercial. He is a true Renaissance man in terms of his varied talents and personal interests. He has hit 27 field goals in a row and is just nine away from the franchise record of 36 — Matt Stover hit that mark four times and Billy Cundiff did it twice. He is 29-for-31 on the season and is on pace to surpass his total from last season (30-of-33) in a more efficient manner as well.
Obviously, with the Ravens struggling to string together long drives consistently and the inability of the offense to finish drives in the end zone, the former Texas Longhorn has been relied on more so than I’m sure Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco would have liked when he headed into this season.
As inconsistent as the offensive output has been for Baltimore — the Ravens have only scored over 30 points once this season against the Houston Texans — Tucker has been money in the bank. Other than a Week 2 showdown against the Cleveland Browns, where he missed his only two kicks of the season, Tucker has hit a field goal in every single game this season for Baltimore. He has hit at least two field goals in nine games this season already. He is also perfect in his four attempts from 50 yards or more and has kicked a long field goal of 53.
He has battled elements, cold, wind and a tremendous amount of pressure to score for his team when John Harbaugh needs him. It can be annoying sometimes to watch a team that relies so heavily on their kicker to convert successful field goal attempts and hope that the defense will stand tall and not let the team down. Thus far, it’s propelled the Ravens to a 6-6 record, but Tucker has been huge in the victories for the Ravens. He has made a combined nine field goals in the last two victories alone and is 18-for-20 in the Ravens’ wins this year.
Maybe, I’m hyperbolic in praising the kicker as the most valuable contributor to the team. But, it can’t be denied that he scores points and is the best option for Baltimore to do so this season.
He’s also pretty good at dancing, singing opera and has more swag than any kicker in the NFL… for what it’s worth. “Oooh kill ‘em!”