Patriots

Tucker holds some key NFL records.

Justin Tucker gave one of the first memorable kicks in his illustrious career against the Patriots. Jim Davis / Global Personnel

Bill Belichick probably has no greater love than his love for special team players. This weekend he will face possibly one of the best special team players in NFL history.

Ravens kicker Justin Tucker leaves no doubt that he is the league’s best kicker since he joined in 2012. Tucker was called All-Pro for the first team five times and All-Pro twice for the second team during the first 10 seasons of his career. He also holds several key records, such as the record for the highest percentage of kicks performed (91.1 percent) and the longest completed kick (66 yards) in NFL history.

As Patriots prepare to face The Raven on Sunday, Belichick talked about Tucker’s place in NFL history.

“He reset this position by possibly a pretty decent amount,” said Belichick. “It’s not like being 200 seconds below the world record. This guy really reset the bar. No kicks, accuracy is very good, distance, range.

“He really shortens the field. Makes the field ten yards shorter than most. Not only with the strength of the legs, but also with accuracy and how well it handles long distance. He’s the briefing guy if they want to do that.

Speaking of Tucker, Belichick briefly compared him to former Ravens kicker Matt Stover, a player Belichick trained during his collaboration with the Browns. Stover made a pair of All-Pro teams over 18 seasons with the Browns / Ravens franchise and holds two NFL records, such as the most consecutive games with a game goal (38) and the most points scored by a player at the age of 30 (1,113).

Belichick was surprised that The Raven had managed to find a kicker even better than Stover.

“Yes, he and Stover had great careers and he went in and just raised the bar,” said Belichick. “A lot of good digging there for a long time since Stover was in 1992, it hasn’t been digging very long, but since 1993, so what is it? Thirty years. Thirty years of having a really good kicker, two guys, that’s pretty good, and it counts. Tucker still had a year or two left.

Even though Tucker scored the game’s winning goal over the beep in his first match against the Patriots in 2012, he didn’t have the success he was used to facing New England. He only returned 75 percent (6 out of 8) of his kicks, his second-lowest percentage of game shots against an AFC opponent, and even conceded an extra point in five career games against the Patriots.

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#Bill #Belichick #Justin #Tucker #reset #kicker #position

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