Shortly before midnight Monday night, not long after
"Nice game," the late-night text message read, according to Tucker. "I saw you had a bunch of touchbacks."
Tucker, who showed
“It’s really important to me,” he said. “[Kicking field goals], that’s all good and well. But I know it’s better for whoever is playing on special teams to run a warm-up sprint as opposed to a full cover. It’s always good to rest the legs as much as you can during the course of the game. Field position is a big part of the game. You see [punter]
Tucker got off to a good start Monday night.
Cincinnati kickoff return
"As soon as you get in someone's head or you neutralize a play from the game to your advantage, you'll take that any time," Tucker said. "At the end of the day, it's not about the stats. It's about the end result. If a returner is eager to take one out and gets to the 8-yard line, it's not going to show up as a touchback for me, but that's awesome for our defense. You put a team in a tough position. I'll take that any day of the week."
Special teams aren't particularly interesting to most fans, and if you are still reading this post about touchbacks, you are in the minority.
I asked Tucker if a fan had ever come up to him and said something like, "Sweet, touchbacks, dude." He said it happens occasionally, which honestly, surprised me a little.
Must have been Jerry Rosburg's cousin.
"What really gets people going about field goal kickers -- if they do get going about them -- is kicking the ball through the posts. But yeah, occasionally, and it's usually someone who knows football," said Tucker, a quirky, young kicker who when I approached him had been sitting cross-legged on the locker room floor watching a video on his cell phone by himself. "People involved in the game of football tend to recognized that a little more often."
And it's something the Ravens definitely recognize.
While deciding to go with Tucker over
But Ravens coach
"When you get after him, he's all excited. He's fired up about the next kick, and he attacks it," Harbaugh said. "Two of those were line drive squibs -- which I'm not saying whether that was planned or not -- but he kicks it different ways. ... The balls that were the touchbacks weren't out of the back of the end zone, but they had such good hang time, there's no way they were going to bring them out at that point."
And if they do, like Tate in the first quarter Monday night, the end result usually isn't favorable for the return man.
As Tucker continues to get his footing in the