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Ravens return man Asa Jackson (27) gains 10 yards on a punt return, and is stopped by New Orleans Saints' Damian Swann (38) during a preseason exhibition game against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ravens return man Asa Jackson (27) gains 10 yards on a punt return, and is stopped by New Orleans Saints' Damian Swann (38) during a preseason exhibition game against the New Orleans Saints at M&T Bank Stadium. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

After two preseason games, the Ravens' kick and punt return situation isn't any clearer than it was when training camp began. A lack of opportunities, coupled with a few injuries, have prevented the coaching staff from settling on one candidate to replace Jacoby Jones as return specialist.

Cornerback Asa Jackson has been the team's primary return man through the first two games, but he has gotten just four chances. He gained 41 yards on two kick returns against the Philadelphia Eagles, and he returned two punts for 17 yards in the preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints.

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Otherwise, all six kickoffs against the Saints were touchbacks while five of the Eagles' nine kickoffs — and one of their two punts — went for touchbacks.

Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said Tuesday that Jackson would also get the first shot at returns Saturday against the Redskins, but the competition remains open. Ravens coach John Harbaugh even added undrafted free-agent running back Terrence Magee to the kickoff return mix this week in practice.

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"It's a work in progress," said Rosburg, who vented about teams going for touchbacks rather than testing their coverage teams, saying it makes no sense. "We're working a lot of different guys in practice, and we have to come to some decisions soon because it's going to happen quickly."

Other candidates, like Webb and Michael Campanaro (soft-tissue injury) have been sidelined in recent days. Undrafted free agent DeAndre Carter has also bobbled a kickoff in each of the first two games, making him a long shot to seize the role. Harbaugh indicated Monday that the Ravens could turn to Steve Smith Sr. and Lardarius Webb on punt returns, but don't want to do that in the preseason.

End zone

Speaking on a conference call with Ravens season-ticket holders Tuesday, quarterback Joe Flacco became the latest member of the organization to defend linebacker Terrell Suggs, who has been widely criticized for his low hit on Eagles quarterback Sam Bradford. "Obviously you don't want to get hit down there, but he wrapped up. He didn't take [a lot of] force into him. That's probably the reason that we don't do that kind of [read-option] stuff. It can put you in bad positions," Flacco said. … Lacrosse legend Gary Gait attended the Ravens' practice Tuesday.

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