Head coach John Harbaugh acknowledged today that part of the reason the Ravens decided to sign cornerback Prince Miller off the Patriots' practice squad was because of his abilities as a punt returner.
Harbaugh still seemed to indicate, however, that the Ravens have confidence in Tom Zbikowski as their primary punt returner, and expect him to bounce back after a poor performance on Monday night.
"Obviously, that's part of our idea with that," Harbaugh said of Miller's return skills playing a factor in his signing. "Whether he can do that this week or not, I don't know. I probably wouldn't give it to you anyway. But obviously, that's something he does. I'm sure they'll prepare for him being back there. He's a rookie, they feel like if he's back there, they can take the ball away from him.
"That's what I like about Zibby, he's going to be secure with the ball. But he's got to go north-south instead of going sideways. One of those two guys will be back there, and the bottom line is catch the ball first, then run that way [pointing forward], and we'll be fine."
Zbikowski has heard about his mistakes in the return game non-stop for the last two days, and didn't particularly want to discuss them again with reporters today.
"We've got much bigger worries than who's returning punts," Zbikowski said.
What earned Zbikowski the return job in the first place was the physical, straight ahead, take-what-I-can-get style of running that he displayed in the preseason.
The third-year safety will almost certainly get the first crack at the punt returns against the Bengals, and look for him to get back to that no-nonsense method.