Quick Links

Koch's consistency helped Ravens in first part of season


Koch's consistency helped Ravens in first part of season

It's often been said that kickers on a pro football team aren't sometimes noticed until they screw up. A missed field goal, extra point, bad kickoff, something that helps the other team are things that everyone notices.

However, punters have it just as tough in some situations. That's why the consistency of Sam Koch again this year has been a help to the Ravens during a season when the offense and defense both stumbled at times.

Koch's been consistent in a few ways. First, he doesn't drop the ball or get kicks blocked. Second, he can unload booming kicks or skillfully place punts deep in opposing territory. Koch is good at pooch punting and placing something out of bounds both away from a tough return man and in a spot that can bury the opposing offense.

In addition, nowadays in the NFL, most punters are place-holders. Koch's been good at that also. Nobody's perfect at these jobs -- or any -- on the football field, but Koch's given the Ravens all they could ask for, and more.

But Koch quietly goes about his work. There's not a whole lot of notice surrounding him, and the guess here is that's fine for the veteran punter.

His numbers are mostly in the middle of the NFL's punters this season. Koch's averaging 47.2 yards per punt, and that ranks him 13th in the league. In addition, Koch is tied for 11th with 11 punts that have gone inside the opponents' 20-yard line, about 1 1/2 per game, a pretty good number.

A punter's main job is kind of a thankless one. Get the ball out of your own end of the field or send it deep to the other end to help your defense put some pressure on. Not a whole lot of glory. You just have to do the job. So far, like he's done his whole career, Koch's done just that.

Quick Links

Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

USA Today Sports Images

Ravens sign Crabtree to three-year deal

The Baltimore Ravens have signed WR Michael Crabtree to a three-year deal on Friday according to general manager and executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.

The deal is apparently worth $21 million, according to Adam Shefter.

After being released by the Raiders Thursday following the signing of Jordy Nelson, Crabtree heads to the Ravens less than 24 hours later.


The 31-year-old is coming off a 2017 season when he recorded 58 receptions for 618 yards and eight touchdowns. In 2016 he posted 89 receptions for 1,003 yards and eight touchdowns.

Since 2015, the Texas Tech product has scored 25 receiving touchdowns, the fifth-most in the NFL. Crabtree and Steelers WR Antonio Brown are the only NFL players to post at least eight touchdown catches in each of the past three seasons.


In all, Crabtree has played nine NFL seasons – six of them with San Francisco (2009-14) and three with Oakland (2015-17). The former first-round draft pick (10th overall, Texas Tech) has registered 579 receptions for 6,870 yards (11.9 avg.) and 51 touchdowns in 125 career games (122 starts).

“Michael has played very well against the Ravens, so we know firsthand the attributes he brings to the game,” Newsome said in a team statement. “He is a smart, tough, physical receiver who battles for the ball. We like his temperament and believe he is a good fit for our football team, on and off the field.”

Since he entered the NFL in 2009, Crabtree’s 51 receiving scores rank 10th among active wide receivers, while his receptions (579) are seventh, and his receiving yards (6,870) are 12th.

Quick Links

Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

USA TODAY Sports Images

Ryan Grant's health issue and why the Ravens couldn't control voiding his contract

The most obvious move in the NFL this offseason was the Ravens signing a new wide receiver (or three). It was less obvious why the team decided to commit so much money to former Redskins receiver Ryan Grant.

Grant has long been beloved by his coaches and teammates, but the results have never been there on game day. He has some potential to improve if given a larger role in a team's offense, which he likely would have had in Baltimore, but it never made much sense to offer him a 4-year contract worth nearly 30 million, with $14.5 million guaranteed.

Thankfully for fans who were uninspired by the reported agreement, Grant was unable to pass his physical and will not be joining the team.


At a press conference Friday morning, GM Ozzie Newsome called the void a "medical decision" that Newsome had no control over. 

NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Grant is recovering from a Grade 2 sprained ankle that would need two months rest.

You have to feel for Grant, who by all accounts has worked his tail off for many years just waiting for his chance. It's never easy missing out on nearly $15 million dollars guaranteed, but Grant should be able to find work with another team.

The timing of this news, coming so soon after former Raider Michael Crabtree became available, seemed fishy to some.

At Friday's press conference, Newsome also said the team would have still pursued Crabtree if they signed Grant. 

It's probably not fair to suggest that an NFL franchise would actually so publicly back out of a deal just because another option came along, as any team with that reputation would struggle to attract future free agents. That said, it could end up working out splendidly for the team.

Besides, if all else is equal, shouldn't a team located in Baltimore be going after a guy named CRABtree?