Saturday, September 14, 2013
Why Ravens like Doss returning punts
By Jamison Hensley
Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Tandon Doss has four punt returns for the Ravens in 20 regular-season games. He averaged 2.3 yards per return this preseason.
Why are the Ravens considering Doss as a replacement for Jacoby Jones on punt returns Sunday? It starts with his hands.
"He’s an excellent catcher of the ball, he makes really good decisions; it’s almost too easy for him," special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "Some guys underneath the ball, they move around and they stutter their feet, and for him, he’s very relaxed and balanced under the ball. He’s got excellent hands, so that’s the first thing with any punt returner."
Doss' best moment as a returner came last December, when he brought back a punt 40 yards against Denver.
"He had an excellent punt return, because he can put his foot in the ground and he’s a big guy," Rosburg said of the 6-foot-2, 207-pound Doss. "He’s got strength, and he can knock guys off of him. So, we look at him as a possibility, certainly. He’s had experience; that’s always good.”
With only four healthy wide receivers, Doss will certainly be active for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns. One way for him to justify being the No. 4 receiver is handling punt returns.
But Rosburg indicated there is another possibility for punt returner. Lardarius Webb took over that role after Jones was hurt in Denver in the season opener.
Webb is a more explosive returner than Doss. Still, I would be surprised if the Ravens used Webb as a returner because he's the team's best cover corner and he's 11 months removed from knee surgery. My guess is they'll use Doss for most of the returns and go with Webb if it's at a point in the game where they need a big return.
"He’s demonstrated for the Ravens in the past that he can be an effective punt returner, and he likes doing it, and we like having him do it because he’s good at it," Rosburg said. "We got a 13-yard return the other day from him, and there’s possibility for more. We’ll see how it goes. You never know how the game plays out. We have other options, but he’s certainly one of the options.”