By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
1:35 PM EDT, June 15, 2014
The Ravens have had stability in the kicking game with the same long snapper and holder for the past four years.
With the exception of one regular-season game and the postseason in 2010, when long snapper Morgan Cox tore his anterior cruciate ligament, it has been Cox snapping to punter Sam Koch during that span.
“It’s desirable," Ravens special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said of having no changes in the kicking operation. "You know that, in this league, change is a constant, so you’re trying to make things as stable as you can."
Last season, kicker Justin Tucker made the Pro Bowl for the first time as he connected on a career-high 35 of 38 field goals. Tucker has been the Ravens kicker for the past two seasons since beating out former Pro Bowl kicker Billy Cundiff in 2012.
Long snappers tend to be anonymous unless something goes wrong.
That hasn't been the case with Cox, a former University of Tennessee player who signed a two-year, $1.615 million contract last year that runs through the end of this season.
Cox has been extremely reliable.
“It’s very important," Rosburg said. "Perhaps the fan watching the game won’t know him, but I trust you, all the specialists around the league, the guys playing special teams, know where the good snappers are. And it’s not just the snap. It’s also in punt particulars. It’s the protection in being able to block. Morgan has been really solid for us.
"The thing that I’ve liked about Morgan is, over the last couple years, you always see improvement in him. Last year, his protection was much better than it was the year before. And, his accuracy has been honed down on field goals where it’s at a point now where we don’t have to move the ball around much. It’s a much easier ball to hold than it was when he first arrived.”
The Ravens have had undrafted rookie punter Richie Leone hold on some kicks during organized team activities to allow Tucker to get accustomed to any potential changes during the season because of injury.
"For Justin, for example, it’s a good opportunity for him to have someone else [Richie Leone] hold for him, because he’s so used to Sam," Rosburg said. "You hope nothing ever happens during the course of a season, but if somebody else has to hold, like if [backup quarterback] Tyrod [Taylor] has to hold or if somebody else has to go in and hold, he has to get used to making kicks with someone else other than Sam holding the ball. Richie has been getting a lot of good reps with him, and that’s a good opportunity for him to see a ball that’s not exactly the same way that Sam holds it. It’s a way that he can improve at the same time."