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Rugby kick becomes a weapon for Koch

One of the reasons why Ravens punter Sam Koch is close to tying an NFL record for punts inside the 20 has been his development of the rugby kick, a shorter punt that – upon contact with the turf – tends to spin the ball back away from the end zone and allows his teammates to down the ball.

Koch, the franchise leader with 147 career punts inside the 20, said he began adding the rugby kick to his routine during the offseason.

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"Once I started doing it in the offseason, it took about, I'd say, a good two months to figure out how to kick it and from then on, it was about figuring out the other things like direction, distance and all that stuff," the team's sixth-round pick in 2006 said. "It ended up taking a long time. It took this whole year, and I felt comfortable doing it, which is great. But it took a long time."Koch said his season-long quest to perfect the rugby kick has given him enough confidence to do it at will.

"It's huge," he said. "When you have a rugby kick that is as consistent as that is, it added a lot more to my game. If I hit my normal spiral ball and I hit it clean, that can go soaring into the end zone. But with this, I can pound it as hard as I can, but it's less likely to be buried deep. So it definitely adds another weapon to my game."

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And confidence is a huge benefit for Koch, who needs just five more punts inside the 20 to tie the league single-season record of 42 shared by the Arizona Cardinals' Ben Graham (2009) and the San Francisco 49ers' Andy Lee (2007).

"It is great because you've got to have the confidence as a punter in this league, and it always helps," Koch said.

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