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Two years ago, Ravens punter Sam Koch implemented a rugby-style kick that successfully landed his punts within the 20-yard line.
Now, Koch hopes to increase his hangtime by working on shortening his step distance and pushing through the football.
“I’ve spent a great deal of my time shortening up my steps and getting into a quicker rhythm, as well as getting up through the ball,” said Koch. ”I felt like my hangtime could be better to let my gunners and punt coverage team get down there with a better chance to make the tackle.”
Koch has placed himself among the NFL’s best in recent years. Since the Ravens spent a fifth-round draft pick on Koch in 2006, he has hit 149 punts within the 20-yard line, which is second-best in the NFL behind only Kansas City’s Dustin Colquitt (151).
Koch said he would like to get the hangtime of his punts up to 4.9 seconds this season, which would be a departure from his time at the University of Nebraska, when he had to cut punts through the plains winds.
“Ideally, it would be five seconds, but if you hit a 4.9, 52-yard ball to the hashmark, that’s a pretty good ball,” said Koch. ”The farther, the better, basically.
“When I came out of college, a lot of it was just driving balls through the wind. Here, the returners won’t let that hit the ground, so I need to give our guys the best chance to get down there on top of the returner.”
In 2010, Koch was a true weapon with his 39 boots inside the 20. The Ravens rewarded him with a five-year contract that was signed just before the NFL lockout began in early March.
Entering his sixth year, Koch believes he can also help out his unit by getting his foot on the ball quicker.
“I’m trying to make it compact, make the block spot a little deeper than 10 yards like it typically is,” said Koch. ”A lot of it is feeling. If you get a perfect snap, you can obviously go through your motion easier.
If you have something that’s off-target, it messes up your rhythm, for me.
“It elongates the steps, and then you try to get back on track.”