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Rookie LS Trent Sieg says Ravens’ reputation for special teams influenced him to sign with Baltimore

“Coach Rosburg is such a well-respected special teams coach and he just said he’d get me ready to be on an NFL team, whether it’s here or whether it’s somewhere else,” Sieg said of his decision to sign with the Ravens as an undrafted free agent.

NFL: Baltimore Ravens-Training Camp Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After the last pick of the 2018 NFL Draft was made, the frenzy began. Twitter exploded with news of players signing with one of 32 teams as an undrafted free agent or accepting a minicamp tryout. Among the commotion was long-snapper Trent Sieg of Colorado State University signing the Baltimore Ravens.

It just so happens I’m currently attending CSU, and I instantly messaged Trent.

We attempted to schedule this interview months back, but he was dealing with graduating and preparing for rookie mini camp while I was preparing for and completing final exams. I ended up finally catching up with him yesterday in Owings Mills, Maryland at Ravens training camp.

Being an undrafted free agent varies deeply from being a first round draft pick. Undrafted guys have a much steeper hill to climb to make a 53-man roster in September.

“I can’t really speak to first-round experience, but I talked with coaches throughout the draft and had an idea of which teams were interested in me,” Sieg said. “(Special teams) Coach Rosburg really expressed interest in me early on and was talking with me. Throughout the whole draft we stayed in contact.”

Sieg ultimately chose to sign with the Ravens, but he did have some options when deciding where to begin his NFL career.

“I don’t really want to get into the specifics but it came down to about two or three teams that were interested in me at the end of the day,” he said. “I was very happy with the Ravens’ decision because Coach Rosburg is such a well-respected special teams coach and he just said he’d get me ready to be on an NFL team, whether it’s here or whether it’s somewhere else.”

Ravens fans know of ‘The Wolfpack.’ The trio of long snapper Morgan Cox, punter Sam Koch and kicker Justin Tucker and their special teams prowess in the league. It’s clear everybody in the special teams community knows they’re top-tier.

“They’re the best in the game for a reason. It’s great to watch them and how they go through their day-to-day routine; just how seriously they take every single little detail that they do,” Sieg said. “I remember the first day over the summer going out and kicking with Justin Tucker. About the third snap in I’m just like, ‘Holy crap, this is Justin Tucker.’ I got a little starstruck during it.”

I asked Trent if he notices the level of play increase from not only college to the NFL, but to the elite level Tucker, Cox and Koch stand upon.

“It’s just crazy watching them and how much control they have over every little thing they do. Tucker will go back and name off his landmark he’s aiming for and does an, ‘aim small, miss small,’ and if he does miss, he misses small. Same thing with Sam Koch.”

I mention this many times every year, but I personally find training camp unique. There are 90 players banding together as a team, yet fighting with everything they have to also beat their teammates and win a job. In six weeks, a total of 37 players will lose their job here in Baltimore as lower down to 53. That’s 1,184 players across all 32 teams.

Coming from Colorado State, the difference in talent from college to the NFL is definitely stark. But Sieg says it wasn’t hard to acclimate to the level of talent after realizing he’s among regular guys who are all just playing football.

“The locker room has been really welcoming to not only me, but to all the rookies I would say,” Sieg said. “It’s just a great group of guys to be out here working with.”

Even knowing special teams spots are limited, the players all helps each other to learn and grow; that’s especially important for an undrafted rookie like Sieg.

“I’ve been learning a lot from Morgan. He’s been taking me under his wing, talking me through everything,” Sieg said. “Same thing with Kaare [Vedvik], he’s been learning from Justin and Sam cause he’s a kicker-punter combo. That is another one of those things Baltimore is famous for, the specialist community. Specialists come in here and if they don’t win the job here they might go get it somewhere else. Wil Lutz is the most recent example down with the Saints, so it’s good to learn from the best.”

Lutz has scored on 84.3 percent of field goals during the last two seasons in New Orleans. If he continues as such a pace for 100+ field goals, his accuracy would land him 14th all-time on career percentage. Steven Hauschka, who had a brief stint with the Ravens, is fourth all-time with 87.302 percent. Tucker is the number one kicker in NFL history in accuracy with a 90.179 percent completion percentage, two points above the second-ranked Dan Bailey. Bailey also does half of his kicking inside the Cowboys’ stadium while Tucker is completing 50-yard field goals in the Baltimore weather. . . just saying.

The Ravens aren’t stumbling into good kickers, they’re turning good kickers into great specialists. Adam Stites, a writer for SB Nation wrote about this very topic last year in his piece, ‘Why do NFL teams ignore kickers?

“Every team has a special teams coordinator, but the Ravens additionally employ a specialist coach, Randy Brown.”

It’s this reputation and effort that brings punter Kaare Vedvik and Sieg to the organization, knowing full-well they’re competing against all-star talent. It’s assistant head coach and special teams coach Jerry Rosburg ensuring players he’ll get them ready for an NFL roster, regardless of whether it’s with the Ravens or elsewhere. It’s the production of Hauschka and Lutz with other teams that’s garnering interest in players to work with the Ravens.