Here is the third and final "cheat sheet" to help you get some basic info on the Baltimore Ravens. Earlier today we looked at the offense and defense, and here are to wrap it up with a look at special teams. Thanks again to Baltimore Beatdown for providing some basic details on the Ravens special teams. Swing by Baltimore Beatdown for my rundown of the 49ers special teams units.
The big storyline this week from the special teams side of things will be Ravens kicker Justin Tucker vs. 49ers kicker David Akers. However, Jacoby Jones will be a guy to keep an eye on as he can be a game-breaker in the return game. The 49ers coverage units have been quite strong the second half of this season, and they'll need to maintain discipline on Sunday if they are going to contain Jones.
Starter Jacoby Jones (12)
Why would there ever be a reserve when your starter is the NFL leader, averaging over 30 yards per return, including the only player in league history to have two kickoff returns of over 105 yards in the same season (105, 108)!? Jones can take risks with his confidence, returning a few kicks when it seemed obvious he should have downed it deep in the end zone, but when he has proved he can take it all the way every time, why not go for it?
Starter: Jacoby Jones (12)
Reserve: Ed Reed (20)
The only reason Reed is listed is because he sometimes is put in to fair-catch a punt deep in their own territory, as his hands are glue-like. Jones added a 63-yard TD return as a punt returner to his two kickoff TDs and averaged over nine yards per punt return.
Starter: Sam Koch (4)
Koch averaged 47 yards per punt, putting 28 inside the opponent's 20-yard line, with a long punt of 60 yards. The Ravens punt coverage team was ranked 7th in the league during the regular season, allowing a bit under eight yards per return.
The rookie placekicker unseated veteran Billy Cundiff (he of the 32-yard shanked wide, wide left in the 2012 AFC Championship Game), and all he did was hit 30 of 33 in the regular season, including all four attempts of 50+ yards and a career long of 56 yards. He is tow-for-two in the post season, including the game winning 47-yard kick to beat the Denver Broncos in double-overtime. Only four other kickers in the league had more kickoff touchbacks than Tucker and his kickoff coverage teammates allowed a little over 23 yards per return.
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