When Jameel McClain suffered a serious neck stinger late in the third quarter of the Ravens' 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins last Sunday, the responsibility of wearing the helmet that transmitted defensive coordinator Dean Pees' calls did not go to veterans like free safety Ed Reed, strong safety Bernard Pollard or inside linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo.
That honor went to Josh Bynes, an undrafted free agent last year. And if Ray Lewis (torn right triceps) and Dannell Ellerbe (right ankle, left foot, both thumbs) can't go Sunday against the Denver Broncos, Pees confirmed that Bynes would probably get the headset again.
"Josh Bynes probably, or whoever will be in there at inside linebacker," Pees said. "I hate to say Josh because it's only Thursday, so it's hard to tell. Whoever the inside backer is, one of them will have the headset on."
That responsibility could be exponentially more difficult this Sunday as quarterback Peyton Manning and the Broncos offense like to go no-huddle frequently. That could put the onus on Bynes to get the call from Pees, relay it to this teammates, and make sure they're lined up properly before Denver snaps the ball.
Bynes tried downplay the significance of him wearing the headset.
"That's what the middle linebacker is supposed to do," he said. "But I'm used to that. I've been doing that for a long, long time. In high school, I was the only one with a wristband, the only one telling the players what the play was. In college, I had the same responsibility. So now, it's no different than any other time in all of my years playing football. So I'm used to it."
Ayanbadejo said he has a lot of faith in Bynes to do the job capably.
"He did a great job [against Washington]," Ayanbadejo said. "But he plays Mike. He's used to it. The headset is just a bonus. We go off signals, and it's a lot easier for someone to say something and communicate it rather than reading a signal and communicate it. So we do headsets and we do signals, and Josh has been doing the headset and all. So he's doing a good job."