The Broncos-Ravens game may come down to Special Teams play
The Denver Broncos face one of the better, if not the best Special Teams Units on Sunday when they visit the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Stadium. Pro Football Focus has the Ravens Special Teams Unit ranked 1st overall and the Broncos 2nd. Football Outsider’s agrees with PFF on the Ravens, though they have the Broncos 10th.
Rookie Justin Tucker is Baltimore’s Placekicker. He is 24 of 26 (92.3%) on his Field Goal Attempts in 2012, with his two misses coming in the 40-49 yard range. His longest Field Goal conversion this season was 56 yards. Justin is a perfect 35 of 35 on Extra Point Attempts. Tucker has kicked off 72 times with the average landing area being the 3 yard line. 43 of those kickoffs have gone for Touchbacks (59.7%) and 28 were returned for a 23.2 average.
7th year veteran Sam Koch is the punter and Holder for the Ravens. He has punted 67 times with a gross average of 47.5 and a Net of 40.5 yards. He has 7 Touchbacks, forced 11 Fair Catches and placed 24 Inside the 20 yard line. 40 have been returned for an 8.3 yard average.
The Long Snapper for the Ravens is Morgan Cox. A 3rd year player out of Tennessee, Cox, 6-4, 241 lb. long snapper, was signed by the Ravens as an undrafted free agent in 2010. He earned the starting job after Baltimore released Matt Katula on August 14, 2010. Morgan has played 27 career games with the Ravens and has 2 career Tackles.
Jacoby Jones is the Ravens primary return man. Tandon Doss, Lardarius Webb and Ed Reed have also dropped back to field punts, but Jones is the guy. Jacoby has returned 25 punts for an average of 10.7 yards and 1 Touchdown. He has called for 13 Fair Catches.
Jones ranks second in the NFL with 1,820 punt return yards since 2007. He has 7 career return Touchdowns (4 punts, 3 Kickoffs) in his 6-years in the league.
on Kickoffs, Jacoby is averaging 33.2 yards per touch, making him one of the most dangerous return men in the league. He has 863 return yards on 26 kickoffs, with 2 Touchdowns this season. Rookie Deonte Thompson has returned 15 kickoffs for a 25.9 yard average.
Linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo leads Baltimore with 11 Special Teams Tackles.
Free Safety Sean Considine (9 TKL, 1 AST), Running Back Anthony Allen (8 TKL, 3 AST, 5 MT), Cornerback Chykie Brown (7 TKL, 3 AST, 3 MT), Cornerback Corey Graham (7 TKL, 1 MT), Linebacker Albert McClellan (6 TKL, 1 AST, 1 MT) and Strong Safety James Ihedigbo (5 TKL, 3 MT) are the main coverage guys. Graham is their best Special Teamer.
Jacoby Jones (Ankle), Vonta Leach (Ankle), Dannell Ellerbe (Ankle), Ed Reed (Shoulder), Deonte Thompson (Thigh), LaQuan Williams (Thigh) and Chykie Brown (Knee) are all on the Injury Report this week and that could have a factor in the game on Sunday.
The Punt coverage Unit has allowed an 8.3 yard average over 40 punts and a 23.0 average through 29 Kickoffs. That’s not bad at all and a little better than average. With the injury factor and the Broncos own dangerous returner in Trindon Holliday, the action on Special Teams may just be as exciting as the rest of the game.
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