PLEASE NOTE: The opinions, analysis and/or speculation expressed on BaltimoreRavens.com represent those of individual authors, and unless quoted or clearly labeled as such, do not represent the opinions or policies of the Baltimore Ravens' organization, front office staff, coaches and executives. Authors' views are formulated independently from any inside knowledge and/or conversations with Ravens officials, including the coaches and scouts, unless otherwise noted.
It’s no coincidence that two Ravens players amidst breakout seasons received honors for their fundamentals Thursday.
USA Football and the NFL Players Association selected Ravens punter Sam Koch and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata to the 2010 All-Fundamentals Team.
“You know how I feel about you,” Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison said, looking up to the 6-foot-4 Ngata during the awards presentation. “You’ve earned this; you deserve it and get it again next year too, OK?”
It’s Ngata’s second straight year being selected to the All-Fundamentals Team. Only one other NFL player received the award two years straight (Kyle Vanden Bosch, Detroit).
Ngata has 62 tackles and a career-high 5.5 sacks this season, a year after going to his first Pro Bowl. USA Football said he received the award for his skill at bull rushing.
“The thing you see everywhere, in the NFL and every type of football, the better some guys get, sometimes they don’t keep reaching,” Mattison said. “He keeps reaching to get better and better and better.”
Koch is leading the NFL in punts inside the 20-yard line (36) in part due to his mastery of the rugby-style punt. Koch started using the style last season but has grown more confident in using it this year.
Special Teams Coordinator Jerry Rosburg said Koch has developed better precision with his punts and therefore has a wider range of talents.
“There’s no more fitting player that could get this award in special teams than Sam Koch,” Rosburg said. “Those of us that have been around here and watched Sam develop over the last few years have really seen a guy that has paid great attention to detail and fundamentals.”
There are 26 NFL players (11 offense, 11 defense, 4 special teams) that are chosen for this annual distinction based on an ability to consistently execute the fundamentals of their positions and for making a positive impact in their communities.
As a part of this honor, All-Fundamentals Team players will designate a youth or high school football program that will receive a $1,500 equipment grant from USA Football. Each player also received a pewter helmet trophy.