Lardarius Webb is listed as the top backup at kick returner, but he’s also the defense’s starting cornerback and the primary punt returner. Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said he’s not worried about adding kick returns to Webb’s already crowded plate.
“Webby’s in great shape and he did it in the first game of the year, and we anticipate using him however we can use him throughout the game on defense and special teams,” Rosburg said during his weekly briefing Thursday. “I don’t think that’s going to change. And just like with all the games, we have a number of guys that can do a number of things. So he’s going into the game the same way he did in the first game of the season.”
Rookie LaQuan Williams is also a possibility. The undrafted free agent is listed behind Webb on the kick-return depth chart, but Williams could give Webb a breather.
“LaQuan’s been working every week – all the way through the preseason, all the way through training camp,” Rosburg said. “LaQuan is one of our returners. Now whether he’s going to be the returner this weekend, we’ll see.”
Rosburg conceded that losing Reed’s services is significant. Reed, who led the NFL with a 29.3-yard average on kick returns last season, averaged 41.7 yards on three returns – including a 77-yarder – in the Ravens’ 26-13 loss to the Tennessee Titans last Sunday.
“It hurts us because David’s a fine returner,” Rosburg said. “But we’ve got other guys that will now have an opportunity to show what they can do. David got off to a great start. He not only got off to a great start on kick returns, but he was a force on special teams. He was down there on kickoff coverage, he was really active as a gunner, and we’re going to miss David. But the way the NFL works, somebody else is going to go in there and get an opportunity to show what they can do.”