No offseason, no problem for Ravens 'Wolfpack'
Ravens' kicker Justin Tucker, long-snapper Morgan Cox, and punter Sam Koch are known as 'The Wolfpack' because they've been together for so long and their tight bond.
The trio are also widely regarded as the best in the NFL.
So, the coaches are grateful they have these experienced players on special teams after such a tumultuous offseason with the ongoing challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I think it’s one of those things where when you have a group of veteran guys like Justin, Sam, and Morgan, those three guys are the best at what they do," special teams coach Chris Horton said. "So, when you have that group, it makes it a little bit easier, because they understand and know what they need to get done in order to continue to be great.
Tucker is the most accurate kicker in NFL history at 90.8%, connecting on 265 of 292 field-goal attempts. His 11-career AFC Special Teams Player of the Week awards are the most in franchise history.
Tucker is also a seven-time AFC Special Teams Player of the Month honoree — the most ever by an NFL special teams player. He is the first kicker in NFL history to produce six seasons with 30-plus field goals made (2012-13, 2015-18).
"He doesn't show any nerves when he's out there," Horton said. "He lines up. He says, ‘OK, I need to make this field goal. Let's go.’ So, I don't think there are any nerves. He's really, really good at what he does. So, I think he's focused, and when he gets those opportunities, it's his job to go out there and make those kicks.”
The Ravens signed Koch to a two-year extension in March. Koch, 37, owns franchise records with 1,046 punts for 47,451 yards and a 45.4 career gross average. His 39.5 career net average also ranks first in team history.
Last season, Koch punted 40 times for a 46.4 gross average and a 39.8 net average, placing 21 punts inside the 20. He was eligible for free agency next offseason.
Cox, 34, has been steadily consistent. He is a three-time Pro Bowler and earned the team’s Ed Block Courage Award in 2011 after returning from an ACL injury suffered in 2010. Cox is a free agent after next season, but the Ravens certainly don't want to mess with success.
"Now, when you’re dealing with a team – and some teams are doing this – where there is a bunch of new guys, then your system isn’t really in place," Horton said. "Well, for us, we’ve got a system that has been in place. We tweaked it a little bit last year, but our guys are in tune to what we need to do. I think when we finally get out on the field, we should be ready to roll and feel pretty good about where we are.”