Retired Ravens Legend Vows to Make His Rookie Successor the ‘Best in the League’

Ravens Jordan Stout

Getty Baltimore Ravens punter Jordan Stout celebrates a field goal in September 2019.

Longtime Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch may have retired from playing in the NFL on May 19, but he’s committed to staying with the Ravens as a special teams consultant for the 2022 season and potentially beyond.

Koch’s first job will be mentoring Ravens rookie punter Jordan Stout, who was selected in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Penn State.

It’s a job Koch plans to take on with vigor, telling media during his retirement press conference that he is “excited to work with” his successor.

“I’m just going to try to teach him everything I have and put everything I have into making him the best punter this league has seen,” said Koch, drawing laughter when he added that All-Pro kicker Justin Tucker “can get better.”

Koch has already started coaching Stout, saying, “We’ve already worked on some punting and holding aspects of his game.”

“I look forward to this opportunity,” Koch added, and it appears that Stout feels the same way. The rookie punter congratulated Koch on his retirement and expressed his excitement for the veteran’s mentorship on social media.

Koch will look to make sure that Stout upholds the tradition of strong special teams play in Baltimore, both as a punter and holder for Tucker, who is widely considered the best kicker in the NFL. The 39-year-old is the second Raven to retire in 2021 and continue with the team in a coaching role, with safety and special teams leader Anthony Levine Sr. announcing his retirement in January.

Koch To Pass On Knowledge to Stout

Koch has picked up plenty of tricks of the trade over his 16 years in the NFL, and the Ravens will hope he can pass them all onto Stout.

Before Koch entered the league in 2006, punting was a fairly straightforward endeavor with little strategy about how and where to punt the ball. But after dealing with dangerous AFC North returners like Josh Cribbs and Antonio Brown, Koch and former special teams coach Jerry Rosburg began experimenting with a variety of punts that resulted in different trajectories and spins, including his signature “Koch Hook.”

Koch will look to pass on the nuances of punting technique and strategy to Stout in addition to the rookie’s likely other jobs of holding and executing fake punts when called.

Tucker often credits Koch’s holding skills for his consistent success as a kicker, so Stout will need to quickly develop similar chemistry and timing to keep the Ravens’ special teams running smoothly.

Koch was also an all-around athlete who completed seven of his eight career passes on fake punt attempts, converting first downs on five of them. Head coach John Harbaugh and special teams coordinator Chris Horton will want to keep those fake punts in the Ravens’ playbook, and Stout is confident he can continue Koch’s success.

“I had a few fakes at Penn State, and I feel like a few of them went really well, and I’m very comfortable with throwing the ball,” he told media at his post-draft press conference. 

Koch Knew of Plan to Draft a Punter

Koch’s retirement had been widely expected since the Ravens drafted Stout, a possibility Koch was aware of heading into the draft.

General manager Eric DeCosta told media after the draft that the team told Koch that they might draft a punter, with the 2022 class of college punters considered one of the best in recent memory.

While the Ravens love Koch, the front office has always prioritized planning for the future, and that extends to special teams.

So while Koch has “no doubt” that he can still punt in the NFL, he knew his tenure in Baltimore would likely come to a close after the Ravens selected their new punter.

“Through this whole thing, I was very fortunate to have Eric [DeCosta] and John [Harbaugh] call me the day of the Draft and notify me that they were possibly taking another punter. And I knew this time was going to come to an end,” said Koch in his retirement presser.

With a wife and family settled in Maryland, it’s not surprising that Koch opted to retire than attempt to sign with a new NFL team.

“They made their decision, and at that point, I think I knew. My time was over, and it’s OK. I am very excited for my next chapter in life, and all I can do is be very appreciative of the way they handled it,” he continued.

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