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Ravens still planning on using Jacoby Jones as primary returner

Ravens still planning on using Jacoby Jones as primary returner
(Kenneth K. Lam/Baltimore Sun)

Despite Jacoby Jones' recent struggles, which included a muffed punt on Sunday, Ravens associate head coach and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg indicated the team is not planning to change their primary kick returner.

"We're going to give him more opportunities to do that because we know he's an elite returner," Rosburg said. "But to be an elite returner, you have to have a ball in your hands. We need to get that fixed, and give him an opportunity to run with it."

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In the first quarter of the Ravens' 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts last Sunday, Jones got a late read on a Pat McAfee punt and then found himself in precarious position to catch the ball. The ball bounced off Jones' lower body and was recovered by the Colts at the Ravens' 31.

That was the last opportunity Jones would get as cornerback Lardarius Webb was used as the returner on McAfee's final two punts. However, Rosburg said that the situation dictated Webb's usage and it wasn't a case of Jones getting benched.

"We actually had Webby planned on taking all of those punts in that area," Rosburg said. "That wasn't a change in the game plan at all. Webby's an experienced returner and is very sure-handed. And the punter that we were facing had some balls that wiggle around back there. So, our plan was to use him in that part of the field. And when we had them backed up, we were going to have Jacoby. So, it played out just that way. Jacoby just didn't get another opportunity after that."

Jones has eight career return touchdowns and was selected to the 2012 Pro Bowl team as a return specialist. However, this season has been a struggle as he's had several drops on offense and he's yet to make a big play on special teams since the season-opening loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Jones is averaging 11.2 yards on his six punt returns and 26.7 yards on his six kickoff returns as more and more teams are finding creative ways to keep the ball out of his hands and contain him.

“I've got all the confidence in the world in him,” Rosburg said. “I look forward to the next time he's got his hands on the ball because he's really good with his hands on the ball. We've got to get him to catch it, and block well and give him an opportunity to do what he does best.”

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