Ravens place veteran punter Sam Koch on Reserve/COVID-19 List
The Baltimore Ravens placed veteran punter Sam Koch on the Reserve/COVID-19 list which puts his availability for Sunday’s season finale against the Cincinnati Bengals in jeopardy and would present a unique challenge for the team’s third phase if he can’t suit up since they don’t have another punter on the active or practice squad roster.
Koch produced an inconclusive COVID-19 test according to ESPN’s Jamison Hensley.
The Pro Bowl specialist has not missed a game since entering the league in 2006 as a sixth-round pick out of Nebraska and would have his 15-year streak of consecutive games played snapped.
Earlier this season he surpassed both Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis as the franchise’s all-time leader in career games played and currently sits at 239.
There’s no replacing a master technician like Koch but in the event that he can’t play this week, the Ravens could either have All-Pro Kicker Justin Tucker take over his duties, try to get a free agent signed and through the COVID-19 protocols in time for the game, or be ultra-aggressive on fourth down.
Tucker performed both kicking and punting duties for the Longhorns during his collegiate career at the University of Texas and averaged 40.5 yards per punt.
In addition to being the starting punter, Koch also serves as Tucker’s holder on his field goal and extra-point attempts so the Ravens will need to find someone to take over those duties on Sunday or they could elect to go for two-point conversion attempts after touchdowns.
According to Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic, starting tight end Mark Andrews took some snaps as the holder in training camp so he could be a somewhat experienced option on Sunday if Koch isn’t available.
The team could also go the Madden route and use the backup quarterback as the holder like is customary on the EA Sports video game.
Hopefully, the Ravens won’t have to exhaust every or any of these alternatives, and Koch will be available to punt against the Bengals in a ‘win and get in’ game for his team.
Nevertheless, Head Coach John Harbaugh who has a strong and extensive special teams background will have his team prepared either way.