Figurs is coming off a rookie year where he became the first player in franchise history to return both a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in the same season. But the speedster has yet to capture that magic in 2008, prompting a shift of more and more of the return duties - especially punts - to Leonhard as the weeks have progressed.
This year, Figurs is averaging only 6.0 yards on 23 punt returns, while Leonhard's 12.2-yard punt return average ranks sixth in the league.
Leonhard impact has shown up on the scoreboard, even though he has yet to notch a touchdown. In a 33-24 win over the Dallas Cowboys last week, he tallied 41 yards on three punt returns, including a 23-yard third-quarter run that set up a critical touchdown pass to Derrick Mason.
"I think the best words to describe Jim Leonhard is he's a football player," said special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg. "Put him out there at any task, he just finds a way of getting the job done.
"The thing that people are perhaps a little mistaken on is they look at Jim and they think he's an overachiever. That guy is a good athlete. You don't make plays as a punt returner at this level without having athletic ability. He's got an ability to put his foot in the ground and cut off people. He reads blocks very well, and he's been a real positive force for us."
Leonhard's ball security is another attractive quality for the starting safety. He hasn't fumbled yet, as Figurs nearly lost possession on a fourth-quarter kickoff in Dallas.
But that's not to say the Ravens have lost confidence in Figurs, as he'll continue to get chances on both kickoffs, where he is averaging 21.0 yards per attempt, and punts, likely splitting time in that aspect of the game with Leonhard and rookie running back Ray Rice.
"We're not getting the results that we need, and we need to establish better field position. So Yamon is part of that," head coach John Harbaugh said. "The guys who are blocking are part of that. The coaches are part of that. From a confidence standpoint, I'm sure if he breaks one, that'll boost that confidence."
Blocking is one area where the Ravens would like to improve, something that Rosburg pins on himself.
"I don't think I've done a real good job of giving him his space," Rosburg explained. "I take responsibility for that. I think Yamon is the kind of returner that, as you all have seen here before, you get him in space, and he's exciting. He's dangerous. The thing that I need to do a better job as a coach is getting him that opportunity."
Barnes May Be Done
Second-year linebacker Antwan Barnes's season could be over after he sustained a pectoral injury against the Cowboys.
All week, he has worn a sling on his left arm and is listed as out for this Sunday's matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Barnes has not been placed on Injured Reserve yet, but Harbaugh admitted that such a move could be a possibility.
"I don't know for sure if he's out for the remainder of the season," the coach noted. "There's a couple of weeks issue in there, and we'll have to make a decision about whether we'll have an opportunity to try to bring him back, whether it's worth trying to wait, taking the risk that he wouldn't be back. We should know more about that Monday."
The Ravens will honor members of the Baltimore Colts 1958 championship team on the 50th anniversary of "The Greatest Game Ever Played" with a halftime presentation.
Featuring Hall of Famers like Art Donovan, Raymond Berry, Johnny Unitas and Lenny Moore, that squad beat the New York Giants in overtime at Yankee Stadium in what is widely regarded as one of the most exciting games in football history.
While Harbaugh was not even born when the contest took place, he understands the significance, especially after speaking with his father, Jack, a 41-year coaching veteran.
"My dad has given me a little history lesson on the '58 Colts, and I got a book on the Baltimore Colts history just yesterday for Christmas, so I'm looking forward to digging into that one," Harbaugh said with a laugh Friday.
Many of the players that participated in the 1958 title tilt will attend an event at the Ravens' team hotel Saturday night, as well.
"Those guys are going to be in our hotel for a reception before we start meetings on Saturday night," Harbaugh continued. "We're encouraging our guys to go back through there, stop by, talk to the guys, get to know a little bit about the history of football in Baltimore. I think a lot of our guys will do it. We're excited about that."
The Colts will be introduced at halftime by announcing legend Vince Bagli.
Barnes and wideout Marcus Maxwell (hip) are both listed as out for Sunday, and the Ravens have an extensive list of players that are questionable.
Offensive tackles Willie Anderson (foot) and Adam Terry (knee), wideout Derrick Mason (shoulder/neck), linebacker Jarret Johnson (calf), running back Ray Rice (calf), safety Ed Reed (thigh), and cornerbacks Fabian Washington (toe) and Samari Rolle (ankle) all have a 50 percent chance to suit up.
Figurs (head) and defensive Trevor Pryce (illness) are probable.
For the Jaguars, only running back Maurice Jones-Drew (knee) is on their injury report. He is probable.
The Ravens returned to their regular schedule after taking the Christmas holiday off. "The thing that was most important, from a business perspective, was they came back focused, ready to go to work," Harbaugh said. "And we had good morning meetings and a good practice." … Baltimore (10-5) is aiming for its third 11-win season, after totaling 12 victories in 2000 and 13 in 2006. … Defensive coordinator Rex Ryan gushed praise for linebacker Ray Lewis, who leads the team with 147 tackles. Lewis has topped the century mark in each of his 12 seasons, except in 2002 and 2005, when his campaigns were ended early because of injury. "Whatever the franchise stands for, that's what Ray stands for," Ryan said of No. 52, who is in the final year of his contract. "Shoot, he hopefully has a lot more years here. But clearly, he'll be the best player that this franchise has ever had and probably almost any franchise has had." … Baltimore will open by letting key special teamers lead introductions, followed by their five Pro Bowlers.