Despite just limited opportunities on punt returns, Lardarius Webb actually leads the Ravens with an 8.5-yard average on two returns thus far.
But Webb's performance in that area was marred when he was stripped of the football in the second quarter of the team's 26-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night, and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg re-emphasized that ball security must be the primary objective for returners."You know, the first priority we have whenever we go out there in our return game is to give our offense the ball," Rosburg said Thursday. "And when you put the ball on the ground, there's no possible way of assessing anything else if you're doing that. You just can't do that, and he's aware of that, and [it's] something we've been working on and we have a high priority in ball security. We practice it, we preach it, and he's aware of it. He just didn't use good fundamentals. So we've been practicing his fundamentals, we got him back there in practice today working on it some more, and so we'll see what happens this week."
Rosburg coyly dodged the question of whether Webb, Chris Carr or Donte' Stallworth would return punts Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, but he did confirm that Stallworth, who hasn't regularly returned punts since 2005, is an option.
"Well, like anything else, the practice is valuable, but there's no substitution for game reps," Rosburg said. "And that's kind of where we're at with all of our punt returners. You know with [Tom Zbikowski] and [Lardarius Webb] and now Donte', we're all growing into those spots. So the more practice we get, hopefully the better we get, and then the game opportunities come when we play well."