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Ravens special teams again ranked among the league's best

The Ravens special teams units, the one consistent part of the 2017 team, were again recognized as being among the league’s best in one highly respected rankings system.

Rick Gosselin, a former writer for The Dallas Morning News, ranked the Ravens’ special teams group as the fourth best in the NFL, trailing only the Los Angeles Rams, the Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC champion New England Patriots.

Gosselin has developed a detailed ranking system that is cited league-wide. He gave the Ravens 233 total points. The Rams, whose kicker (Greg Zuerlein), punter (Johnny Hekker), return man (Pharoh Cooper) and long snapper (Jake McQuaide) were all selected to the NFC Pro Bowl team, finished first with 196.5 points. The Chiefs had 229.5 and the Patriots had 231.5.

It marked the sixth straight year associate head coach and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg’s group finished in the top five in the NFL in the rankings. The Ravens ranked fifth in 2013, 2014 and 2016, second in 2012 and first in 2015.

While the offense struggled throughout and the defense faded down the stretch, the Ravens’ special teams groups were the team’s one constant despite regular juggling by Rosburg in terms of personnel.

The Ravens finished first in average kickoff return yardage (27.5) and kickoff starting point (27.8 yard line), fifth in average punt return yardage (10.0), first in average kickoff yards allowed (18.6), first in punts placed inside the 20 (40) and they were among 13 teams who didn’t turn the ball over on special teams.

Kicker Justin Tucker converted on 34 of 37 field-goal attempts and all 39 of his extra-point tries. Punter Sam Koch had six more punts inside the 20 than any other NFL kicker and he ranked 19th in gross punting average (44.8). Michael Campanaro finished fourth in the NFL with an average of 10.8 yards per punt return. Both he and kick returner Bobby Rainey also scored touchdowns on returns.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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