Return specialist Jacoby Jones continues to earn league honors as he was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Month after two return touchdowns in November.
Leading the AFC in Pro Bowl voting at the return spot, Jones had a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 11 and a 63-yard punt return for a score that was the difference in the narrow win over the Steelers two weeks ago.
He also returned another kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown against Dallas in Week 6, which tied an NFL record.
“His two touchdowns gather attention, and they were crucial plays in big games for us,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. “I’m really happy for Jacoby, and I’m also happy for all of those that were blocking for him that allowed him to make those plays.”
Jones has been dealing with a sore ankle in recent weeks, an injury he re-aggravated in last Sunday’s win against San Diego. He missed his second straight practice on Thursday, but the returner maintains he will be ready to play against the Steelers, a sentiment his special teams coach shared.
If Jones were unable to go, the Ravens would likely turn to wide receiver Tandon Doss to handle punt return duties and some combination of Anthony Allen, rookie Deonte Thompson, and a returning David Reed to field kickoffs.
“We’ll play with our best players, our healthiest players, and I fully anticipate having Jacoby ready,” Rosburg said. “He’s excited about doing it.”
D. Reed’s role to be determined
With Reed being moved to the 53-man roster after beginning the season on the physically unable to return list, the question now becomes what role he’ll serve with Jones firmly entrenched as the return man for kickoffs and punts.
Reed’s ball-security issues caused him to lose his kick return job last year, but the third-year player has served in other capacities on special teams in the past. And with injuries in the secondary forcing special-teams standouts Corey Graham and Chykie Brown into more extensive action at cornerback recently, Reed could find himself working in coverage units to utilize his speed.
“He was a starting gunner for us when he was a rookie, as you recall,” Rosburg said. “He played a lot of different roles for us when he broke in. We’re trying to find exactly what he can do for us best now with this current group of players we have.”