Big Question: Is Shayne Graham clutch?

June, 8, 2010
6/08/10
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Will new kicker Shayne Graham be clutch for the Baltimore Ravens this season?

[+] EnlargeShayne Graham
AP Photo/David Kohl Graham missed two field goals in Cincinnati's playoff loss to the Jets.
Statistically speaking, Graham is money when it comes to making field goals. He has connected on 85.2 percent of his kicks during his nine-year career, which puts him among the all-time accuracy leaders.

But it's not the routine kicks that are a problem for Graham. It's the clutch field goals he missed during his tenure with the Cincinnati Bengals that could be a cause for concern.

If the Ravens turn out to be as good as most -- including the AFC North blog -- expect in 2010, Graham will get plenty of opportunities to make big kicks this season. If Graham beats out incumbent kicker Billy Cundiff, the Ravens have to hope Graham's big misses of the past won't follow him in the future.

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis recently hinted that Graham may be haunted by his "demons." Perhaps that term is a bit strong. But Graham failed to come through in several big spots with Cincinnati:

  • On Jan. 9, 2010, Graham missed two field goals in a 24-14 playoff loss to the New York Jets.
  • On Nov. 22, 2009, Graham missed a 37-yard field goal in a 20-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders.
  • On Nov 16, 2008, Graham missed a 47-yard kick at the end of overtime in a 13-13 tie with the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • On Dec. 31, 2006, Graham missed a potential game-winning field goal at the end of regulation in a 23-17 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. A win would have put the Bengals in the playoffs.

Graham has to prove that his shaky performance with the Bengals during close games is a thing of the past and he will have to do it this year in a different uniform.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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