Ravens guard Marshal Yanda, punter Sam Koch named to Pro Bowl team

Ravens punter Sam Koch kick during a game against the Arizona Cardinals.
Ravens punter Sam Koch kick during a game against the Arizona Cardinals. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

The Ravens' disappointing 2015 season was reflected in Tuesday's release of the Pro Bowl selections.

Only two Ravens, starting right guard Marshal Yanda and punter Sam Koch, were selected to play in the Pro Bowl, which will take place on Jan. 31 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii. For Yanda, it's his fifth selection while Koch will be going for the first time in his 10-year career.


Koch is the first Ravens punter to make the Pro Bowl in franchise history.

"This is a very surreal and exciting moment for my family and me," said Koch in a statement released by the team. "I can't wait to represent the Ravens in Hawaii."


The team's two selections are the fewest since offensive tackle Jonathan Ogden was the Ravens' lone representative in 2005. Since then, the Ravens have had at least four Pro Bowl selections every year. Last season, they were represented by running back Justin Forsett, Yanda and linebackers Elvis Dumervil and C.J. Mosley.

However, the two Pro Bowl picks were pretty much expected with the Ravens having gone from a chic Super Bowl pick to one of the first teams eliminated from postseason contention. They are 4-10 and losses in their final two games – Sunday at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-5) and Jan.3 on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals (11-3) – would equal the most losses in a single season in franchise history.

There was some hope that Brandon Williams would get Pro Bowl recognition, but the third-year nose tackle will have to wait. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk and Mosley were selected as third alternates.

The players were chosen without regard to conference in voting by fans, coaches and players. The players will be assigned to teams during the Pro Bowl draft, which is on Jan. 27.

Yanda, long regarded as one of the top guards in the league and a Pro Bowl selection in each of the past five years, was considered a near lock to make the team. He's been the anchor of an offensive line that has been decimated by injuries, further justifying the Ravens' decision to sign him to a four-year, $32 million contract extension in mid-October.

With his fifth Pro Bowl berth, Yanda tied defensive tackle Haloti Ngata for the fifth most in franchise history. Only middle linebacker Ray Lewis (13 Pro Bowls), Ogden (11), safety Ed Reed (nine), and outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (six) have gone to more.

"Football is the ultimate team sport, and you don't do anything in the league on your own," Yanda said. "I want to thank the coaches and my teammates for helping me along the way. We all grind together with the goal of achieving greatness."

The inclusion of Koch will undoubtedly please Ravens coaches and players who have felt that the 33-year-old punter has been snubbed in previous years. He was a Pro Bowl alternate in both the 2010 and 2014 seasons before finally breaking through this year.

Koch, the second-longest tenured player on the Ravens behind Suggs, has punted in every game for the team since they made him a sixth-round pick in the 2006 draft. A locker room leader and the holder on kicks, Koch was rewarded with a five-year, $16.25 million contract extension in July.

The 33-year-old is the midst of one of his best seasons. For the second straight year, he leads the NFL with a 44.0 net punting average. That would represent the highest average in his career. He's also tied for third (47.7) in gross punting average and the opposition is averaging just 5.2 yards per return on his wide array of punts.

Koch thanked his family, his coaches and teammates, and Ravens' fans.

"This has definitely been a long time in the making," Koch said. "A lot of hard work and practice have gone into this."


NOTE: The Ravens lost DuJuan Harris from their practice squad when the San Francisco 49ers signed the running back to their active roster. Harris was just signed last week a couple of days after he played against the Ravens as a member of the Seattle Seahawks.

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