The additions of young safeties Omar Brown and Brynden Trawick will help the Ravens in multiple areas they're struggling.
For one, special teams has become a concern in recent weeks, whether it be kick coverage, punt protection or returns.
Both Brown, a 25-year-old in his second season, and Trawick, a 24-year-old rookie, are noted for their work in that area and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg is happy to have them on the 53-man roster.
"Anytime you add defensive players with the abilities that they do, you hope that they would improve your special teams," Rosburg said Thursday. "Those are guys that we've been working on since the start of training camp for these type of roles - they're both backup safeties and they're both good football players and we'll see how it plays out on Sunday exactly what their role might be. We expect them to be good special teams players. That's why they're on the roster."
The Ravens have received an influx of healthy players over the last month with linebackers Jameel McClain and Josh Bynes back, as well as wideouts Jacoby Jones and Marlon Brown on the field. While those four don't all play big roles on special teams, their health is good for the unit.
"It's always good to be healthy on all sides of the ball because even if our offensive players or a defensive starter is injured, it affects special teams," Rosburg explained. "Perhaps the backup is one of the core guys on special teams, so it's always good to have your roster as healthy as you possibly can. For the first time, we're relatively healthy and I look forward to a lot of energy on Sunday in covering kicks and returns and all other phases."
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees weighed in on how the roster moves alter the defense. Brown and Trawick weren't signed off the practice squad just for special teams purposes.
Pees sees them playing a role as reserve safeties behind Matt Elam and James Ihedigbo, whereas veteran Michael Huff was released because he wasn't able to contribute in that area.
"Omar, No. 1, is just an instinctive, instinctive football player," Pees said. "He's kind of that guy I was talking about before where you don't want to always go on measurables. If he ran a 40, I don't know what he'd run, but he's fast enough. He's got great instincts for the ball. He really can add to us in the secondary at safety, and allow us to maybe do some things with Matt and James that maybe we couldn't do before because we couldn't take them out of there. So, I think he's going to really add to our situation in the secondary at safety.
"As far as Trawick, he's got a ways to go as a rookie, but the thing about him is he's big, he's fast and he's strong. And those are good qualities to have in a safety. So he's just got to learn the system. He hasn't done it because he's kind of been on the practice squad, special teams, he hasn't got a lot of reps. So he just needs to soak in the defense a little bit before he probably sees a lot of playing time."
Pees also discussed the decision to part with defensive lineman Marcus Spears, saying younger players on the roster made that possible.
"Obviously, we wouldn't get rid of somebody if we didn't have somebody else that we thought was coming up and playing well," Pees said. "And Brandon Williams is doing a good job, DeAngelo Tyson's doing a good job. So they're a couple of good young players. ...
"(Terrence Cody will) help give you depth up there on the inside."