Baltimore Ravens new defensive tackle Justin Ellis is excited to be a part of the team.

After losing key contributors and making a change at returner, special teams coach Chris Horton believes the unit is nearing its potential.

Sunday’s 49-13 win over the Cincinnati Bengals was devoid of any egregious errors — save for two kickoff penalties for safety Anthony Levine Sr. and kickoff coverage allowing a 47-yard return — but Horton believes the unit will come together soon, specifically in the return game.


“I thought [wide receiver/return specialist] De’Anthony [Thomas] came on and showed some good things,” Horton said Thursday. “On the kickoff team, he was where he needed to be. As a punt returner, on his one punt return, he got eight yards. Obviously we’ll do a much better job of helping him get free.

“We’re close. I keep saying that but pretty soon, hopefully, we’ll pop some big ones.”

The Ravens signed Thomas on Nov. 5 and he was the team’s return man in Sunday’s win over the Bengals. Cornerback/punt returner Cyrus Jones (Gilman) was a healthy scratch after muffing a punt two weeks ago in the team’s win over the New England Patriots.

On Wednesday, the team released Jones, furthering cementing Thomas’ status as the primary returner.

The Ravens rank fifth in yards per punt return (9.4) but 27th in yards per kick return (19.2).

“When you look at De’Anthony’s history over the years, he’s got a lot of punt returns in this league,” Horton said. “It wasn’t like we were going out and we were bringing in a new guy. ... He is an experienced guy. He’s had a lot of opportunities in this league.”

Horton also pointed to the return of rookie cornerback Iman Marshall, who on Tuesday was activated from injured reserve, as well as safety/special teams ace Brynden Trawick, whom the team on Thursday designated for return from IR.

Marshall could make his NFL debut this Sunday against the Houston Texans, while Trawick is eligible to return Dec. 8 against the Buffalo Bills. Both players could provide depth to the team’s coverage units.

“I’m fired up about [Trawick] because he makes us better,” Horton said. “We’ve taken a hit over the past couple of weeks, but just getting some guys back, a player like him and his style, he makes us better.”

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