Ravens Have Options At Returner


The Ravens not only lost two of their best playmaking wide receivers last Thursday night. They also lost their top two returners. 

With Steve Smith Sr. (back) doubtful to play Sunday against the Browns and Michael Campanaro (back) out for the rest of the year, the Ravens will need a new punt and kickoff returner in the short-term and perhaps for the long-term if Baltimore doesn't want to use Smith in that capacity any longer.

Campanaro had been handling both kickoffs and punts and doing a standout job. He averaged 26.3 yards (fifth in the NFL) on three kickoff returns and 16.3 yards (sixth in the NFL) on three punt returns.

"We'll look at all our options," Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday.

"We have guys on the roster – obviously, as you know – that can do it. Chris [Givens] is a guy that can do it, too, as far as the kick return stuff. We'll just see where we're at come Sunday on that, but it could be someone here. Obviously, it could be somebody outside, too."

The Ravens' updated depth chart was released Tuesday with cornerback Lardarius Webb as the top punt returner and "To be determined" as the kickoff returner.

Here's a closer look at the options currently on Baltimore's roster (including the practice squad):

CB Lardarius WebbWebb has returned kicks and punts in the past, but has mostly been a fair-catch specialist. Since 2012, he has returned two punts and made 18 fair catches. Webb hasn't returned a kick since 2011. Webb is a key starter, but that didn't stop the Ravens from using Smith at punt returner. Plus, the Ravens have more depth at cornerback behind Webb than in previous years, just in case there were to be an injury.

WR Chris Givens
Givens would need some time to learn the Ravens' return schemes, but he may be the most logical choice on kick returns – at least among those currently on the active roster. Givens had 28 career returns (23 came during his rookie year in 2012) and an average of 23.4 yards per return. He didn't return any kicks in St. Louis through the first four games this year. He hasn't returned punts at any point during his career, so he would only solve half of the equation.

WR Jeremy Ross
Ross is the only option that has returned kicks and punts in recent years. Ross was the Lions' return man last season, averaging 25.4 yards on 23 kick returns and 8.9 yards on 32 punt returns. Only problem is he's on the team's practice squad, meaning the Ravens would need to drop somebody from the 53-man roster to make room for Ross. Baltimore may need another receiver on Sunday's active roster anyway considering it may have lost two wideouts (Smith and Campanaro) and added just one (Givens).

CB Asa Jackson
Jackson was competing for the returner job during the preseason, but literally fumbled away his opportunity. Jackson muffed one punt and fumbled during another return, leading to his release during the Ravens' final roster cuts. After being picked up and released by the Giants, Jackson landed back on Baltimore's practice squad. He has game-breaking speed and shiftiness, as also shown in the preseason, where he averaged 48 yards on three kickoff returns and 14.6 yards on five punt returns, but his shaky decisions and hands are concerning.

RB Terrence Magee
The undrafted rookie running back got a look on kickoff returns during the preseason. He returned three for an average of 21.3 yards, which isn't too flashy. Magee is currently on the team's practice squad.

RB Javorius Allen
The rookie got a look at kick returner during training camp, but didn't get any returns in the preseason and didn't do it in college. He is already on the active roster, however.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content