Normally reliable Koch off the mark at Miami

Normally reliable Koch off the mark at Miami
October 8, 2013, 10:45 am
Share This Post

Harbaugh: "There are so many things we can get better at"

Ravens punter Sam Koch must have been kicking himself after the Ravens game at Miami.

Koch has been a picture of consistency throughout his eight-year NFL career. His net punting average (44.7) is a Ravens record, and he broke his own team single-season record last season with a 47.1-yard average.

He entered the Miami game averaging even better, with an average of 48.9 yards on 26 punts through the first four games.

So it was somewhat shocking to see Koch shank two punts at Miami. Koch had a 53-yard kick against the Dolphins, but he also kicked two 26-yarders that went off the side of his foot and out of bounds. For the game, he averaged 34.2 yards on five punts.

"That was very un-Sam like," coach John Harbaugh said at his Monday news conference. "Those are two shanks that he usually doesn't have."

Koch certainly has been getting his work. With the Ravens offense struggling, he's been called upon much more often than he and the Ravens would like. Through five games this season, Koch has punted 31 times; through five games last season, he had punted 22 times. In fact, he hasn't had such a heavy workload in the first five games since 2006.

Harbaugh noted that the Ravens were concerned with Dolphins return man Marcus Thigpen, who like Jacoby Jones scored on both a punt return and a kickoff return last season.

"We've faced some really good returners, no less (last) week," Harbaugh said on Monday. "We try to punt to the sideline. ... .You guys have asked me that before. 'Why not just punt it out of bounds?' Well, sometimes that's why. If you punt it out of bounds, those angles change over there. If you hit it a little bit off center, that's what happens - real short punts.

"We've asked Sam to do that a lot, and he's done a great job of it. But on those two, it didn't work out so well."