Tucker's kickoffs help Ravens

Tucker's kickoffs help Ravens
June 30, 2013, 8:00 pm
Share This Post

Since there's so many statistics that sports fans analyze, why shouldn't NFL kickers get in on the fun? 

Now, stats are being kept on kickoffs, touchbacks and yardage on returns. But touchbacks are the stat that seems kind of interesting to me if you want to take a bit of a different look at rookie kicker Justin Tucker's 2012 season. 

Tucker, according to sportingcharts.com, ranked fifth in the NFL in touchbacks. He finished the season with 49 overall and consistently kicked the ball deep. His consistency in that area gave the special teams a real boost and the Ravens another weapon.

The Ravens had problems with kick and punt coverage in 2011 and wanted to improve in that area last year. They did just that, and the deep kickoffs from Tucker were a big reason for it. His kicks were usually high and deep and, when they were returned, didn't often go far.

Good kicks help the coverage team get down the field and make plays and are a big reason why the opposing team gets pinned deep in its own territory. That's a big plus to the defense, something that helped last year when the defense struggled at times. 

What will be interesting in 2013 is to see how much Tucker can improve in this area. He was consistent enough -- in fact, those numbers were very good -- but if Tucker's numbers get better, that's just another positive for the defending champs.

Tucker already is known to set the bar high. He's said he wants to make every field goal and extra point in 2013, certainly not an easy task, but here's betting he does improve on the kickoffs. It's his second year; he's more settled in and could do better. 

That's bad news for Ravens' opponents.