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Morning notes

Matt Stover might have some competition from an unlikely source.

For the second consecutive day, punter Sam Koch kicked field goals during practice. With Stover and rookie Piotr Czech given the day off, Koch connected on attempts of 20, 28, 35 and 42 yards.

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"I used to do it in high school and messed around with it in college just to keep that skill there in case there ever was an emergency," Koch said. "It was fun."

Koch said Stover and Czech have also tried their hands at punting, but it's unclear whether job security is an issue for Koch.

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Other observations:

* The quarterbacks struggled again with Kyle Boller appearing to make fewer mistakes than both Troy Smith and rookie Joe Flacco. Had he not been wearing a red, non-contact jersey, Smith would have been sacked by linebacker Edgar Jones and defensive tackle Lorenzo Williams and was nearly intercepted twice.

Flacco wasn't sacked, but he committed the lone giveaway. Stepping up into the pocket, Flacco lost control of the football as his arm was moving forward. Safety Jim Leonhard bobbled the ball before cornerback Derrick Martin hauled in the fumble/interception.

Boller was almost picked off by Martin and still locks onto his receivers, but he avoided the sacks and giveaways that Smith and Flacco couldn't.

* Smith made the play of the day when he pump-faked a short pass to wide receiver Mark Clayton, enticing cornerback David Pittman to jump the route. Clayton continued down the field and hauled in a long completion. On the ensuing play, Smith and center Jason Brown botched the exchange before Smith recovered the loose ball.

* As good as the defense was, the unit's aggressiveness drew some trouble. Officials flagged the defense for four offside penalties. The offense didn't get away unscathed, committing one false start.

* Defensive tackles Haloti Ngata (sprained right medial collateral ligament), Kelly Gregg (left knee) and Kelly Talavou (sprained shoulder), linebackers Dan Cody (right foot), Robert McCune (undisclosed) and rookie Tavares Gooden (undisclosed), cornerbacks Chris McAlister (right knee) and Fabian Washington (undisclosed), offensive tackles Adam Terry (sprained left ankle) and Jared Gaither (right ankle), tight ends Todd Heap (right calf) and Aaron Walker (left knee) and wide receiver Yamon Figurs (undisclosed) did not practice.


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