While the Ravens defense has garnered headlines, the Ravens special teams unit has exceeded the high expectations that many around the team had set.
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was a special teams coach in his days with the Eagles, and that experience helped him create the best special teams unit in the NFL.
“The Wolfpack”, made up of punter Sam Koch, kicker Justin Tucker and long snapper Morgan Cox. These three are already well-known as an elite unit. All three have Pro Bowls under their belt and all three have played like their typical selves thus far. Tucker hasn’t missed a field goal (the only one he missed didn’t count). Koch, and his 20 different punts, have continually pinned teams deep in their own end of the field. Cox, despite a penalty against the Jaguars, has done nothing wrong this season. Every snap has been right on the money.
But Ravens fans expected this. Pro Football Focus rated the Ravens as the best special teams unit coming into the season. What’s been better than expected is the Ravens defensive special teams unit. Brent Urban blocked his second field goal in less than a calendar year against Jacksonville on Sunday.
In Week 2 against Cleveland, Lawrence Guy blocked a Browns extra point, and Tavon Young returned it back for two points. The blocked PAT keyed the Ravens 20-point comeback, and led to Lawrence Guy winning the award for AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
Ryan Mink of the Ravens official website wrote, “The Ravens’ special teams unit excelled at blocking kicks last year. From Weeks 7 to 11, the Ravens blocked a kick (two PATs, two field goals and one punt) in five-straight games, a feat that had not been pulled off since 1983 (Atlanta Falcons).”
That is an incredible stat, and the Ravens are off to another streak in 2016, with now two straight games with a blocked kick.
The system Harbaugh devised is purely dominant. No other team in the NFL has had the success in all aspects of special teams that the Ravens possess.
Facing Oakland in Week 4, the Ravens will have ample opportunities to extend. This seems like yet another game that will come down to field goals. Look for Harbaugh and the Ravens to get in Sebastian Janikowski and Marquette King’s face all day in Week 4.