RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Dueling Kickers, Suggs Out & More

Street Talk RAVENS NOTEBOOK: Dueling Kickers, Suggs Out & More

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OWINGS MILLS – First, Billy Cundiff booted a 60-yard field goal through the uprights with a few yards to spare.

Then, Shayne Graham clanged a 60-yarder of his own off the right upright before falling over the crossbar.

It was an exciting way to cap the Baltimore Ravens’ final offseason practice and a sneak preview of the kickers’ pending competition that’s set to unfold during training camp at McDaniel College.

"I think both of us know that’s a kick that we can make," said Graham, the fourth-most accurate kicker in league history. "It’s a low-percentage kick, but knowing that I had the leg strength to hit that kind of kick, it’s something that you just want to make sure that you hit the ball nice and smooth.

"Hitting it smooth, get your good timing, not being anxious and not trying to over-kick it is when you’re able to keep it within those 18 feet."

Graham hit every one of his six attempts, converting from 20, 41, 47, 48, 51 and 60 yards.

Cundiff had the lone miss, a 41-yard try.

For the 60-yard kick that Ravens coach John Harbaugh called for, both kickers ran onto the field with time winding down before defensive coordinator Greg Mattison called a timeout to try to ice them.

It wasn’t a successful gambit, though.

"You can’t replicate a game, you really can’t," Cundiff said. "You can try as hard as you want in practice, but that’s about as close as you can get. It’s fun to get out there in those kind of situations when they’re pumping in crowd noise. It’s fun to go out there and hit some balls and make some kicks. You let it all hang out."

Graham joked about how he intended to ricochet his longest attempt.

"I called that, you didn’t hear that?" Graham said. "That was fun. I don’t know if we’ll do it every day like that, but that’s a good feeling for both of us to walk off the field with. You kind of leave a lasting impression on the coaches and the guys on the team. I think that confidence is something that everybody feeds off of."

Harbaugh is expecting a stiff competition.

It certainly shapes up as a better one than last summer’s shaky duel between Steve Hauschka and Graham Gano.

"Both those guys are great guys," Harbaugh said. "They’re solid guys. They’ve been through some ups and downs. They’ve had a lot of success, but they’ve had some failures, too. I think that’s what maturing is all about. Pretty impressive with both those guys."

SUGGS A NO-SHOW AGAIN: Former Pro Bowl outside linebacker Terrell Suggs was a no-show for all of the Ravens’ voluntary offseason practices, including this final organized team activity.

Admittedly out of shape last season when he reported to training camp at 283 pounds on the heels of signing a blockbuster, six-year, $63 million contract that included a $23 million option bonus paid this spring, Suggs has vowed to have a resurgent season this year.

He registered a career-low four 1/2 sacks last season while dealing with a heel injury and a sprained medial collateral ligament.

Harbaugh took the high road and didn’t blast Suggs for skipping the practices.

A three-time Pro Bowl selection, Suggs attended the Ravens’ mandatory minicamp in May. However, he hasn’t been at the Ravens’ training complex for any practice sessions since that point.

"Him not being through the OTAs, we’ll just have to see how he comes back to training camp," Harbaugh said. "But I would expect a very motivated Terrell Suggs in training camp."

Suggs was down to about 270 pounds during minicamp with a goal of getting to 260 pounds by training camp.

Harbaugh said he didn’t know what Suggs was doing on his own and what kind of condition he’s in currently.

"I can’t vouch for anything he’s doing or not doing," Harbaugh said. "I think Terrell’s got a good heart. I think he’s a hard worker. I think he’s very motivated to having a great season."

RAVENS CUT RESERVE RECEIVERS: The Ravens placed reserve wide receivers Maurice Price and Chris Hannon on waivers.

Hannon didn’t play football last season while recovering from a torn hamstring. He tried out for the Ravens last summer and was signed to a reserve/future deal this offseason.

The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder has previously stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Carolina Panthers, San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins and the Detroit Lions.

Price has played for the New England Patriots, Chiefs and the 49ers as well as the Calgary Stampeders in the CFL. He was on the Ravens’ practice squad last season.

The Ravens cut outside linebacker Willie VanDeSteeg earlier this week.

QUICK HITS: There was sparse attendance for the Ravens’ final offseason practice. Besides Suggs, others who didn’t attend the workout included: middle linebacker Ray Lewis, outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, offensive tackles Jared Gaither and Oniel Cousins (throat), defensive linemen Kelly Gregg (shoulder), Haloti Ngata and Kelly Talavou, cornerback Domonique Foxworth, safety Ed Reed (hip), wide receivers Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton, Demetrius Williams and Marcus Smith (knee), running back Willis McGahee, fullback Le’Ron McClain and long snapper Morgan Cox (personal reasons). … Rookie offensive tackle Ramon Harewood remains limited to individual drills after suffering soft tissue damage in his knee last month. "It feels better every day," Harewood said. "I’m really getting there." … Because the Ravens’ final round of organized team activities was cancelled because of rule violations, next week will only be attended by rookies. With the majority of the team done for the summer, it was a raucous locker room with impromptu games of dodge ball. Outside linebacker Antwan Barnes carried a blaring boom box around the room and players were dancing.

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Aaron Wilson

About Aaron Wilson

Aaron Wilson covers the NFL for National Football Post as well as the Baltimore Ravens for The Carroll County Times and Ravens24x7.com. He has previously covered the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans and has covered the NFL since 1997.  He has won several regional writing awards, including, most recently, Best Sports News Story for the state of Maryland in voting conducted by the Associated Press managing editors. 

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