For the better part of three years, veteran kicker Billy Cundiff and punter Sam Koch collaborated for the Ravens' special teams.
Cundiff would knock field goals through the uprights, and Koch was his holder.
The operation worked on 66 of 83 field-goal tries in the regular season during that span, and a perfect record on 96 extra points. Of course, the most notable miss was a rushed 32-yard chip shot during the end of the Ravens' AFC championship game loss to the New England Patriots.
Koch was saddened Sunday to learn of Cundiff's release.
"It is sad, but that's the nature of the business," Koch told The Sun. "Billy had such a great year last year. It's just unfortunate it had to happen this way. He's very confident in the way that he's kickng and someone will want to pick him up. He's got a lot left in him. No doubt, we'll see him kicking somewhere else.
"I haven't had a chance to speak to Billy yet. I was out to practice early and warming up before the walkthrough. It must have been at that time that they called him in to let him know. It's a hard thing."
Both Cundiff, who made the Pro Bowl during the 2010 season when he connected on 26 of 29 field goals for an 89.7 percent success rate, and Tucker made all of their field-goal attempts in three preseason games.
Tucker was 5-for-5 on field-goal attempts so far this month, including a booming 53-yarder against the Jacksonville Jaguars. The former University of Texas standout made 96 of 103 field goals in practice for a 93.2 percent clip.
"Tucker hits a straight ball and he's got a strong leg, but every person that gets a try in the NFL has a strong leg," Koch said. "He also has the accuracy. He hit almost every one of his kicks. He's very coachable.
"[Kicking coach] Randy Brown has helped him wih a few things to help him later in the year in November and December when there will be bad fields. He's doing really well. He seems like a great team player. He's going to help us out."
Cundiff made both of his preseason field goals, but didn't kick against Jacksonville.
And Cundiff, who's believed to already be fielding inquiries from other NFL teams, had a strong camp overall with 88 of 105 kicks (83.8 percent) in practice.
"They both did very well, absolutely," Koch said. "I think Tucker kind of initially surprised people with his accuracy and the way he kicked in camp. It put a little more pressure on Billy. Billy's tough. It makes you want to compete more. They both kicked pretty darn well. Time will tell how Tucker does, but he's definitely off to a great start."
Koch said that he and his family went out to dinner with Tucker and long snapper Morgan Cox on Sunday night.
"We all hang out together," Koch said. "We spend as much time together so that we feel comfortable with each other. You want to have good chemistry."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times