With the release of Billy Cundiff on Sunday morning, both
scapegoats from the Ravens’ AFC Championship game loss in January have now been
jettisoned from the roster.
Lee Evans was sent packing from Baltimore way back in March,
and is currently looking for work in the NFL after being similarly released by
the Jacksonville Jaguars earlier this month.
Whether or not you put much stock into the team
psyche-cleansing effect that going into the season without two of the guys who
effectively cost the team a Super Bowl berth will have on the 2012 version of
the Ravens, the fact is that a clean break for all parties is likely the
appropriate course of action.
The front office, coaches, and players will likely never
publically admit that losing two of their former teammates like this could be a
“good” thing in any way.
However, from a fan’s perspective, not seeing Evans or
Cundiff run out onto the field on September 10th will undoubtedly be
a slight breath of fresh air.
Will it make any difference in the outcome of the games if
it’s Jacoby Jones dropping critical passes instead of Evans?
Will a loss count any less in the standings if Justin Tucker
shanks a potential game-winning field goal wide of the uprights?
Obviously, the answer to both questions is a resounding
But again, from a fan’s perspective, wouldn’t it be slightly
less taxing on our mental well-being to have fresh faces to cheer or blame,
instead of the same ones that we’ve spent the last eight months agonizing over?
Lee Evans and Billy Cundiff will – fairly or not, depending
on your vantage point – forever be two of the biggest goats in Baltimore sports
Playing another season in Baltimore was a lose-lose
proposition for both players. Short of having record-breaking seasons at their
respective positions, there was next-to-nothing either could do to ever fully
redeem himself in the eyes of Ravens fans.
And should either of them have “screwed the pooch” at any
time during the year – especially in front of the home crowd – they would have
been subject to the kind of jeers, taunts, and scrutiny that no man really
deserves for simply trying to do his job.
For that reason – as well as the fact that Tucker absolutely
and beyond a shadow of a doubt beat Cundiff in the kicking competition this
preseason – this instance of a team handing walking papers to a kicker and a
number three wide receiver could have a more positive effect on the psyche of a
team and city than any similar instance in recent history.
The scapegoats are all gone.
The emotional baggage has been tossed along the side of the
It’s a new season.