McCann working his way into returning punts?

Newly-signed cornerback makes way onto depth chart in that department

October 15, 2011|By Edward Lee

Take it with a grain of salt, but Bryan McCann is listed fourth among the Ravens’ punt returners on the team’s unofficial depth chart.

Cornerback Lardarius Webb is first, but cornerback Chris Carr and strong safety Tom Zbikowski are listed as the Nos. 2 and 3 returners, respectively.

With Webb devoting most of his energy to starting on defense, Carr (left hamstring) sitting out all three practices this week, and Zbikowski (concussion-related symptoms) missing his second consecutive session, could McCann – who signed a two-year deal on Oct. 4 after spending one week in 2010 with the Ravens – become the primary punt returner on Sunday when the Houston Texans visit?

“Well, Bryan’s had experience, and that’s something that was real important to us when we picked him up, when [general manager] Ozzie [Newsome} and the guys looked at him,” special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said Thursday. “He’s had success at being a punt returner and a kick returner. Of course, the fact that he was here before, he understands our defense and wouldn’t be starting from scratch. So he brought experience on defense and experience in the return game. And of course, when we’re recovering kicks, he’s got to be able to do that, too. We gave him a lot of reps this week, and we’re excited to see what he can do.”

McCann has returned 10 career punts in 11 games with the Dallas Cowboys and is averaging 17.8 yards, including a 97-yard return for a touchdown in a 35-19 rout of the Detroit Lions on Nov. 21.

Rosburg said McCann’s familiarity with the Ravens’ scheme has been an advantage for the second-year veteran.

“Well, he’s been here,” Rosburg said. “So he understands how we practice, he understands some of the calls. How he contributes and how much he contributes remains to be seen, but at least he didn’t have to start from scratch, and that’s been helpful during the week.”

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