After Sunday's win over the Browns, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh called kicker Billy Cundiff "a stud".
Not sure how often you hear that term applied to a kicker, at least in a football sense (I'm sure kickers get the ladies, too), but you can't blame Harbaugh for being excited about Cundiff's performance against Cleveland.
It might have been easy for the Ravens to give the kicking job to Shayne Graham at the end of training camp. Graham is a Pro Bowler, is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, and he kicked fairly well throughout the summer.
But Harbaugh and the Ravens went with Cundiff, a guy who has spent time with nine different NFL teams and didn't attempt an NFL field goal in 2007 or 2008.
That move seems to be paying off so far.
"This guy, Billy Cundiff, has been through a lot in his career," Harbaugh said. "He's been out of football. He's been in numerous tryouts where he hasn't been picked. He's been hardened a little bit. And that's not to say he's going to be perfect. He's not going to be perfect the rest of the way. Although hey, you know what? We'd take it, wouldn't we? But, he came through a couple times big."
Cundiff missed his first field goal Sunday against the Browns, hitting the left upright on a 51-yard attempt, but he bounced back and made a big 49-yarder in the fourth quarter to give the Ravens a seven point lead.
But the 30-year-old has been getting just as much attention the last few days for his kickoffs against Cleveland, which neutralized Josh Cribbs, arguably the best kickoff returner in the NFL.
It was largely Cundiff's kickoffs which helped earn him the kicking job over Graham, as he consistently sent his kicks into the end zone with a lot of hangtime during camp and the preseason. He's carried that into the regular season as well, and his three total touchbacks on Sunday proved huge, especially the two in the fourth quarter.
"The two kickoffs at the end, the two that he wanted to kick deep, to kick those as deep as he did against Josh Cribbs, with what was at stake, that says a lot about his character [and] his mental toughness," Harbaugh said. "So, it's pretty good when you've got a kicker with that mindset."
The season is still young, and Cundiff has only attempted four field goals on the year. But so far, the Ravens like what they see out of their "stud".
"We like it when our kicker has plusses," Harbaugh said. "It usually means you win the close games in the National Football League."