Perhaps the most overlooked piece on the Ravens 53-man
roster, punter Sam Koch continues to make key contributions to the team.
In the same draft class that brought Haloti Ngata, Chris
Chester and Dawan Landry to Baltimore, Koch was selected in the 6th
round out of Nebraska and has been arguably one of the best late round
additions the Ravens have ever made.
During his tenure in Baltimore, the offense hasn’t exactly been
high-powered, which puts more pressure on Koch to pin opposing offenses as
close to their goal line as possible.
Providing unfavorable field positioning for opponents is one
of Koch’s specialties and part of the success to the Ravens’ defense must be
attributed to Koch giving them more real estate to defend.
Koch is the same way in practice as you see during games –
huddled on the sidelines with his long snapper Morgan Cox and kicker Billy
Cundiff. When he’s not providing a leg for special teams drills for pinning the
ball near the goal line, Koch can be found working with Cox, practicing long
snap receptions for both punts and holds on kicks.
Attending OTA’s may seem to be overkill for a punter but
Koch doesn’t see it that way.
“I like to be here because I have Morgan here and we get to
work together and have team reps, those are very valuable” Koch said.
Even though snapping the ball to your punter and having him
kick it seems like a simple process to someone who gets paid a lot of money to
perfect that craft, it’s still a lot of work.
“It’s hard to mentally replay what a game scenario is going
to be like, but we try to do it here and replicate what it would be like in a
game time,” Koch said. “That’s why I’m here and try to get a jump-start on
After the Ravens lost in the AFC Championship game, Koch
took a few weeks off. “I’ll start lifting and running but as far as kicking, I
won’t start that until usually March 28th,” Koch said.
Once April begins, Koch stays in a routine he’ll keep
throughout the rest of the season by kicking between two and three times per
Koch seems optimistic for this upcoming season because of
fewer off-field distractions.
“Last year it was unfortunate during the lockout but this
year Morgan and I have gotten a head start at that and got the rhythm down
before we even got to OTA’s”, he said.
The biggest headlines from OTA’s (barring injuries) are
typically who does and doesn’t attend the voluntary workouts. For the Ravens
special teams units, they make up for the time most of the other players are
studying plays on the field to perfect their craft as a unit.
Koch may not get a lot of recognition for what he does on
the field but his value to the Ravens is something that should not be
Hopefully this is the last we hear from Koch this season as
he’s either on the field after a failed offensive attempt or we hear his name
come up from lack of productivity.
That’s the life of a punter.