Reality: Since 2001, the Ravens lead the NFL in highest percentages of extra points made.
Perception: The Ravens have made 99.8% of their extra points, only missing 1 in 444 attempts.
The Ravens are blessed in their kicking game. For years, they had one of the very best kickers the NFL has ever seen in Matt Stover. Now, they have a great young kicker who is not only very accurate, but has one of the strongest legs in the game. Justin Tucker was 38-for-41 last year (92.7%) and hit a field goal from 61 yard out.
He has hit 65-yard field goals in practice, and says that he hit one from 79 yard out during pregame warmups in Denver. That may not be his limit either. Tucker said recently that he feels even stronger, due to the offseason program he did this year.
Hopefully, we won’t have to find out how strong his leg is. The Ravens would like to NOT rely on his leg as much as they did Stover’s years ago.
Reality: Back-up QB Tyrod Taylor is entering the final season of his contract.
Perception: It appears Taylor won’t be re-signed by the Ravens, and he might not even make it to the end of his contract.
Head Coach John Harbaugh made it clear in the offseason that he wasn’t happy with Taylor’s performance. So the Ravens drafted Keith Wenning in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Ball State. He had a really good college career as the former Cardinal owns the record for TD passes, passing yards, completions, and pass attempts.
But that doesn’t necessarily translate to the NFL.
Monday night, we were given a glimpse at what he could do. During the open practice in Annapolis, he caught the eye of almost everyone in attendance including his head coach. He had three straight beautiful deep passes.
Taylor better watch his back, or he could see a rookie take over his position as back-up to Joe Flacco.
Reality: Joe Flacco is not one of the top 50 highest paid players this year.
Perception: For as much heat as Flacco has taken for his contract, he is just the 58th top salary this year, making “just” $6 million. If you ask me, he’s actually underpaid this season, in regards to market value, as one of the Top 15 QBs in the NFL. He is the 11th highest paid quarterback this season behind a number of quarterbacks that he is better than.
In regards to full contract value, Flacco is third on the list of QBs, behind Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick. With Andy Dalton signing a fluffed up for show 6-year, $115 million contract this week, Flacco’s deal looks better and better each time another quarterback is signed.
Reality: The Ravens open their pre-season schedule Thursday night against the 49ers.
Perception: The game may not matter to the fans, but it does matter to the players. No, the result doesn’t matter, but it’s all about the individual performances. If Wenning outplays Taylor, he might move up the depth chart. Will CJ Mosley show why the Ravens have him listed as starter at inside linebacker and why they drafted him in the first round? Will Ray Rice get more than 3 yards per carry? Will the offensive line be improved, as it’s expected to be?
I was really excited about the Ravens going into last season… we know that didn’t turn out well.
This year, I’m much more guarded in my excitement.
But I am ready to see this high-power Gary Kubiak offense.