Sam Koch's Effectiveness 'Off The Charts'


It's not the most glamorous part of the game, but field position is a big part of it.

And Ravens punter Sam Koch is winning at that game.

After an admittedly tough 2013 season and a rookie challenger in training camp, Koch is having a superb year thus far in Baltimore.

"His numbers are off the charts in terms of his effectiveness," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday.

"We've had very few returns against us, especially in the last four weeks against great returners, and Sam has been a big part of that."

Koch is tied for third in the league with 19 punts inside the 20-yard line this season. He's had just two touchbacks. Only five other punters have that few. Koch's 42.2-yard net punting average is fifth in the NFL and only 34.3 percent of his punts have even been returned (fair catches or out of bounds).

Koch has had back-to-back really strong games. He was a big reason the Ravens dominated field position early in the game in Pittsburgh and got off to an early lead.

Against Tennessee, Koch had a line drive punt that the returner, Leon Washington, couldn't field. It bounced and rolled 69 yards, pinning the Titans back to their 15-yard line after the Ravens offense had been stopped at its own 16. It flipped field position in what was then a tie game.

Koch later had a 39-yard punt that came down right at the 1-yard line, which was caught by Kamar Aiken and downed by Jeromy Miles.

"Things are coming together really well," Koch said. "We've got a lot of rookies stepping up high this year, which has been really beneficial for the punt team, and a lot of guys covering their tails off getting down field and doing their job. It's been a great unit."

Koch had a sometimes frustrating season last year. He had nine touchbacks, which was tied for a career-high.

"I was definitely coming off, maybe not statistically one of my worst years, but mentally definitely one of my worst years," Koch said.

"Things just didn't bounce my way, I didn't hit the ball as clean as I wanted. Some days I just didn't have the confidence in certain balls. We've put an emphasis on that this offseason just to hone in on the skills and all the different balls that we have."

Koch has shown an assortment of different styles of punts. He is a situational punter, so it's not just booming it as deep as possible.

Koch hits rugby-style end-over-end punts that are harder to field. He hits long line drives and high-skying punts that give the returner only the option of a fair catch. He also has punted well directionally, which can pin returners against a sideline and into the hands of the coverage unit.

Special Teams Coordinator/Associate Head Coach Jerry Rosburg said he hasn't counted the number of different punts Koch has at his disposal.

"He has a lot of different skills. I'll just say that," Rosburg said.

"In my opinion, Sam has been a top punter in this league for a long time. … He's a clutch player. He's a fine punter. He's got skills that belie his numbers sometimes, and we recognize that in our building. We love him. He's our guy."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content