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With no solid options, Ravens may have to go with return by committee

Who will handle returns for the Ravens?

It is hard to believe that in this day and age the Ravens can’t find a return specialist.

They aren’t looking for someone great, but a player who at least is solid, consistent and makes good decisions. You would figure there would be at least one among the Ravens current batch of running backs, receivers or defensive backs.

The most disturbing problem for the Ravens has been the decision making, or when to return as opposed to not returning.

The Ravens seem to have an explosive returner in Asa Jackson, but his decision making has been poor and he has struggled holding onto the ball. In Atlanta Thursday night, he was close to breaking a long punt return but tripped in the open field while trying to juke the punter.

Don’t laugh, and yes, it was the punter.

Second-year player Michael Campanaro might be the best all-around option, but he can’t stay healthy long enough to win the position.

So for now, it might be return by committee with receiver Steve Smith and cornerback Lardarius Webb as possible options when the Ravens need a big play.

Daniel Brown makes 2 clutch catches

Near the end of the Ravens mini-camp there were some who questioned why I would write a column on rookie receiver Daniel Brown because they thought he had no chance of making the roster.

I didn’t think he would make the regular season roster either, but thought he had an outside chance of being on the developmental squad. Well, he might have earned a spot on the developmental squad with his performance against the Falcons with two clutch catches in the final minutes including one for a touchdown.

At 6-foot-5 and 225 pounds, the rookie out of James Madison can become a nice target inside the red zone. With a year in the weight room and practice, he has some promise.

Sloppy play by offensive linemen

Some of the Ravens offensive linemen became sloppy with their technique late in the game. Some were playing too high and allowing the Falcons to get under their pads.

Tackles James Hurst and Jah Reid looked like big redwood trees being chopped down late in the game. I thought offensive linemen were supposed to get the pancakes, not get pancaked.

Renner needs help with footwork

I’m not sure if the Ravens will keep three quarterbacks, but Bryn Renner needs to work with a foot specialist if he plans to stay in the league.

Part of his problem is pocket awareness, but he might be a lot better if he could change direction. Overall, though, it was not a bad preseason for the first-year QB out of North Carolina.

Brown, Orr play well

I thought inside linebackers Arthur Brown and Zach Orr played well off each other after a slow start in the first half. Both struggled early in the preseason but they did a nice job with recognition and taking on lead blocks and filling gaps against the Falcons.

Brown might have earned a spot on the roster for another year even though he blew one big special teams’ tackle. Orr has been extremely physical throughout training camp.

Running backs unimpressive

I wasn’t impressed with the toughness of any of the Ravens running backs especially when they had to square up their shoulder pads and pile ahead to get crucial first downs. Fitzgerald Toussaint ran more east and west than north and south.

So did receiver Jeremy Butler. No receiver really likes to get hit, but you can’t shy away from them either.

Harbaugh professional at halftime

Ravens head coach John Harbaugh was professional and answered questions during his halftime interview after two recent incidents with the team’s sideline reporter.

It’s just not that hard to be cooperative for about two minutes at halftime.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

twitter.com/MikePrestonSun

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