The battle for the Ravens' kicking job should be fun to watch once training camp kicks off (pun intended), and at today's minicamp, we got a preview of what's in store later on this summer.
Billy Cundiff and the newly-signed Shayne Graham traded field goals all practice, and at the very end of the morning session, head coach John Harbaugh called on the two kickers to each attempt a 60-yarder.
With their teammates coming off the sidelines and crowding around, and with a host of media members watching as well, both Cundiff and Graham were successful, booting the ball through the uprights from long range.
"You can't replicate a game, you really can't," Cundiff said. "You can try as hard as 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 crowd noise in OTAs, so it's fun to go out there and hit some balls and make some kicks."
Graham needed a little help on his kick, as the ball kissed off the right upright before falling over the crossbar.
"I called that, you didn't hear that?" Graham joked, when I asked about the bank shot. "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."
Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison decided to add a little extra intrigue to the kicks by calling timeout before both of the 60-yarders. Obviously, the "freezing the kicker" tactic was unsuccessful.
"I think that's a kick that both of us know that's a kick we can make," Graham said. "It's a low percentage kick, but knowing that I have the leg strength to hit that kind of kick, it's something where you just want to hit the ball nice and smooth."
It was a solid day all around for both kickers, as Graham went 6-of-6, connecting from 20, 41, 47, 48, 51 and 60 yards.
Cundiff had the only miss on the day, as he went wide right from 41 yards out. He did connect from 25, 47, 48, 51, 54 and 60 yards.
"Both those guys are great guys, they're solid guys," Harbaugh said. "They've been through some ups and downs. They've had a lot of success, but they've had some failures too, which I think that's what maturing is all about. Pretty impressive today with both those guys."