New contract doesn't turn Koch complacent

Punter currently enjoying career best in gross and net averages

October 28, 2011|By Edward Lee

The theory that players suffer a drop in production after signing big contracts apparently doesn’t apply to Sam Koch.

Through six games, the Ravens punter is enjoying career highs in both punting average (47.3 yards) and net average (41.4) after agreeing in February to a five-year deal believed to be in the range of almost $12 million.

Koch has plenty of reasons to perform well, and one of those is the absence of guaranteed contracts in the NFL.

“It is a little bit of security, but then again, that contract really doesn’t mean much because if you don’t go out there and perform week in and week out, that contract could be voided within a day,” Koch said Thursday. “It’s one of those things where when you’re coming out college, you’re thinking, ‘Oh, it’d be great to get that big signing bonus and everything.’ But what does it really mean? It really means nothing because each week, you’ve got to go out and prove yourself.”

Koch, the organization’s sixth-round pick in 2006, has already established himself as the franchise leader in categories such as career gross average (44.0), career net average (38.5) and career punts inside the 20 (158).

Koch was especially good in the team’s 12-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, booting nine punts for a career-best 470 yards. Only two of those punts traveled less than 50 yards, and six began with the line of scrimmage at the Ravens’ 30 or deeper.

“The whole objective is to just get it across the field and try to turn over the field and get it on their side and really change that field position,” said Koch, who averaged a season-best 52.2 yards per punt and tied a season high with three punts inside Jacksonville’s 20. “That way, our defense has more room to work with. There’s a little more that goes into it when you’re backed up rather than being close. You want to get it inside the 20 if you’re close. That’s my whole objective when I’m backed up, just try to get it far and let our gunners get down there and attack them on the other side of the 50.”

Koch’s production was one of the few bright spots in the Ravens’ loss, but special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said Koch has been consistently good this season.

“Sam continues to improve,” Rosburg said. “I’ve said that many times about Sam, but the one thing you know about Sam is, he’s not going to rest and say, ‘OK, I’ve got this figured out.’ He’s always going to analyze, he’s always going to practice, he’s always going to try to improve in something, and I think he demonstrated the other night that that’s still going on. He just continues to improve.”

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