Sam Koch knows it's only the preseason, but even he is slightly encouraged by the results.
Koch's gross punting average of 47.3 yards on 24 punts in the preseason is higher than his averages of 43.6 yards last season and 43.0 in 2006.
It's a good start for the Ravens' punter, but Koch has been tempering his excitement.
"I was pleased, but I can do better," he said. "A couple of punts weren't what I wanted. They felt good coming off the foot. ... I'm just trying to work on the little details and fine-tune the direction and distance of the ball."
Koch credits a good deal of his success to his offseason work with his drops. Koch said he tended to let go of the football with his hand on top last year. But unless he released his fingers at the same time, the drops were inconsistent.
This season, Koch is releasing the ball with his hand on the bottom, allowing for a dependable path between hand and foot.
"Everything about my job is trying to be consistent," he said. "I want a consistent drop, consistent footwork. The main thing has been the drop and being able to hit it solid every time. I have to keep working on that."
The team waived David Pittman yesterday after reaching an injury settlement with the third-year cornerback. Pittman, who was selected in the third round of the 2006 draft, was placed on injured reserve Saturday because of a problematic arch in his right foot.
After signing wide receivers Justin Harper and Ernie Wheelwright, quarterback Casey Bramlet and offensive tackle Joe Reitz on Sunday, the Ravens rounded out their practice squad by adding wide receiver Matt Willis, running back Marcus Mason, defensive end Bryan Mattison and tight end Nate Lawrie.
Willis was second among the Ravens in receiving yards with 60 in the preseason. Mason, who played for the Washington Redskins, led the NFL in rushing in the preseason with 317 yards. Mattison is the son of Ravens linebackers coach Greg Mattison.
Running back Willis McGahee (arthroscopic knee surgery) and cornerback Chris McAlister (swollen right knee) practiced yesterday, coach John Harbaugh said. . . . Harbaugh reiterated what free safety Ed Reed said Friday - there is no timetable for Reed's return until the nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder is taken care of and treated. "It's just one of those deals where - and he said it - it's day-by-day," Harbaugh said. "He's going to need practice at some point in time to be ready to play, and when he can practice, we'll prepare him properly, and he'll be ready to play. I know he's working hard to get to that point."