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Ravens Special Teams Aren’t Special

Friday, October 14, 2016 4:47
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The Baltimore Ravens have long taken pride in their special teams play.

From kickers to their punters and coverage units, success has been on the side of the Ravens since the franchise’s inception.

Fast forward to the 2016 season and while the performances of Justin Tucker and Sam Koch have been admirable, the Ravens special teams coverage has been atrocious.

Per, opponents have registered 14 punt returns and amassed 264 return yards and one touchdown through the first five games of the season.

Rosburg’s unit has been equally dismal on kick returns, allowing opponents 214 yards on 11 returns.

Add both of those numbers up and what you get is enough to raise an eyebrow, considering they have already surpassed their total yards given up last season, 405.

Head coach John Harbaugh offered his hot take on the matter after watching Jamison Crowder single handedly jump start a Redskins offense following his 85-yard punt return on Sunday.

“I told the team in there, it starts with that,” stated Harbs. “We have to get that fixed. Now we have special teams players who are starting on defense and the young guys aren’t going to step up and play special teams, I guess.

“That has to change. We’re not having it. That’s what gave them the spark to get back in the game, in my mind. We let them back in the game with a punt return for a touchdown. It’s not what we do. That’s not winning football.”

Perhaps it’s more than that John.

Perhaps it’s in the form of Jerry Rosburg having too much influence on game day roster decisions.

Case in point, former Ravens LB Chris Carter (special teams snaps only) was active while Matt Judon and Kamalei Correa were inactive. Both who have defensive and teams capabilities.

Special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is a curious fellow. He demands perfection on each and every snap. Those who have witnessed practices in any way shape or form know, he is the most vocal of the Ravens three coordinators.

When questioned about the vast struggles of his special teams coverage unit and how to get them fixed quickly, Rosburg didn’t hide.

“Evaluating the tape – both on the kickoff coverage and our punt coverage. It’s a matter of fundamental football,” replied the veteran special teams coach. “We broke down in a couple of different areas in each phase, and it hurt us.

“There are times where you break down in the same way and it doesn’t hurt you, because the ball is not in the same place or the return is not the same. We’ve had a repeat of errors that have hurt us. We need to fix it.

“The last time we gave up a score was 2011. Since that time, we’ve gone 70-odd games with zero points [allowed]. In the same time span, we’ve scored 62 points. That’s a high standard. We’re not used to this happening to us, and our players know that. It’s my job to get us back up to that standard.”

With questions surrounding a banged up offense which has struggled to put together consistency through five games, Rosburg needs to get back to his aforementioned standard quickly. Giving up crucial yardage only makes things more challenging for both the offense and defense.

Even if it means a change in personnel groupings.

Follow me on Twitter @sportguyRSR

The post Ravens Special Teams Aren’t Special appeared first on Russell Street Report | Baltimore Ravens News.


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