By Chris Schisler
The Baltimore Ravens are going into the 2021 season without “The Wolfpack.” Morgan Cox is no longer the long snapper for Sam Koch and Justin Tucker.
This isn’t necessarily a concern, but Nick Moore has to earn the Ravens’ piece of mind here. The job of a long snapper is to do your job so smoothly that the fans never even learn your name. There’s plenty of Ravens fans that have no clue who Moore is. That has to remain the same.
The Baltimore Ravens have to get the job done on special teams. It could be a real difference-maker for them. Close games are determined by the little things. Mistakes on special teams are costly.
Many mistakes you don’t really see. A punt returner calling a fair catch with plenty of green grass in front of him is probably giving up 10-12 yards of field position. A special teamer gets out of his lane and the opponent gets 20 more yards on a return. It’s not just missed kicks, bad snaps, and fumbles that hurt you when you don’t have special teams that are special.
Things to think about:
The first issue is life without Morgan Cox. That will most likely be a seamless transition. The Ravens wouldn’t make the change if they weren’t confident in Moore. Still, Koch was really used to handling one person’s snaps for a long time. I’m not staying up at night worried about the Ravens long snapper, but I’m not taking it for granted either.
The Ravens are also without Chris Moore. Now, Moore was quite frankly a bad wide receiver. That said he was a stud on special teams. He was a gunner on punt team. He lined up outside, turned on the jets, and made plays down the field. Moore was also handy for fake punts (It’s about the only passes he caught, or at least it feels like it).
The Ravens may want to figure out the punt returner job. The one thing we do know is that Devin Duvernay is the best option at kickoff returner. If Duvernay gets an increased workload in the offense, having somebody else do punt returns is a good idea.
As a kickoff return specialist, Duvernay got the job done. Duvernay averaged 27.5 yards a return and scored a touchdown. Duvernay finished 10th in the NFL for kickoff return yards. There should be no competition here. Duvernay did that in his rookie season. He’s only going to get better and it’s important to remember that he had only 21 kickoff return attempts.
The Ravens get a special teams boost from Justin Tucker being the greatest kicker of all time. Statistically, there has never been a more reliable kicker in the NFL. Sam Koch is the longest-tenured Ravens player. He’s been the punter in Baltimore since Brian Billick was the head coach. That’s a fact that is almost hard to believe.
The Baltimore Ravens bottom line:
The boost the Ravens should get from their specialists is substantial. If the Ravens can fill the units around these specialists with strong play, the special teams could be a great advantage for Baltimore. Strong special teams will add up over the season. When it’s going right, you don’t always realize how much it matters.
The Ravens have a very stacked roster. This is exactly what every special teams coordinator wants to see. The back-end of the roster makes it largely on special teams. Chris Horton, the Ravens special teams coordinator has some talented players to put on his unit.
The Ravens have a chance to be one of the best teams in the NFL. Special teams have to live up to the talent on this roster for the Ravens to win it all. It’s not something to overlook when you’re getting ready for the season.