Despite the fact that the Ravens signed Bryan McCann just a week ago, the second-year cornerback could end up becoming a fairly significant part of the team's game plan as soon as this Sunday.
McCann not only provides another healthy corner to a team lacking just that, but he also has experience as both a kickoff and punt returner. With the Ravens' top kickoff returner, David Reed, still battling a shoulder injury and Lardarius Webb needing to focus heavily on the defensive side of the ball due to the injuries at cornerback, the Ravens are in search of someone capable who can handle the return duties.
Cut by the Cowboys a few weeks ago, McCann said he hasn't yet been told if he'll factor into the return game this Sunday against the Texans, but if he's handed that job, he'll be ready to contribute.
"We'll find out as the week goes on," McCann said. "Today, they had me working a little bit of kickoff return. We haven't worked punt return yet, so I don't know what the projection looks like yet as far as that's concerned.
"I just try to be a playmaker wherever I'm at, whether it's returning the ball or blocking for the guy who's returning the ball or covering kicks and making tackles. I want to come in and make an impact."
Given the injuries to cornerbacks Jimmy Smith and Chris Carr and the uncertainty surrounding Reed's status, McCann's signing seems like a shrewd one on multiple levels.
He has more NFL experience (11 games) than the Ravens' current nickel back Danny Gorrer (six games) and rookie Chykie Brown (two games), and could slot in as another corner either on the inside or outside in various sub packages.
McCann also averaged 20.6 yards per punt return and 22.0 yards per kickoff return last season, and if the Ravens are looking for someone with more return experience than rookie LaQuan Williams, they might have their guy.
"(McCann) brings us a developing young corner who has a lot of ability," head coach John Harbaugh said. "He is another year experienced than he was a year ago (in his first stint in Baltimore). He is a return guy also and a good special teams player. He is a little more of an experienced guy than Chykie, I guess you would say, and gives us some return help."
Once the Ravens are fully healthy, McCann might not be more than a reserve corner who can assist on kickoff and punt teams. For now, though, with a number of players banged up, the undrafted rookie out of SMU has a chance to see time and make an impact immediately.
"Obviously, we're banged up in the secondary," McCann said. "It's just a matter of learning the system as far as how fast I can get on the field.
"I was definitely excited. The Ravens are a team that's known for their defense for the whole franchise history. To be a part of that defense is definitely an honor."