Every Thursday, reporters that cover the Ravens meet with the team's three coordinators. With all that's gone on lately around the Ravens' kicking units, I wanted to pass along the thoughts of special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg.
As I mentioned the other day, the Ravens have now allowed three kicks for touchdowns this season (two punts, one kickoff) following Josh Cribbs' 84-yard punt return for a score in Saturday's win over the Browns.
Today, Rosburg talked about what went wrong with the Ravens' coverage unit on that particular punt.
"Well, there's a variety of different things that went into that play," Rosburg said. "One is the punt isn't the kind of punt we wanted. The little hangtime had a factor in it. We weren't able to get our gunners down there. The next part of it was our net wasn't good. So it was one of those team plays. It was all three parts of the coverage that broke down. Even after he broke through the first line, he broke two tackles, and you just can't give that kind of player that opportunity. He's too good. We went into the week with that focus, and we just broke down."
Rosburg isn't thrilled with the way his coverage units have performed this season, and with good reason.
The Ravens have allowed 29.6 yards per kickoff return, which ranks second-to-last in the NFL, while their punt coverage unit is in the bottom third in the league, allowing 12.0 yards per return.
"You never want to give up one touchdown, let alone the problems that we've had," Rosburg said. "The emphasis has always been in our program (that) we want to take care of the ball, we want to have good protection, and we want to cover kicks. That's our first thing. That's the way we start our special teams meetings the very first day. So obviously, the fact that we haven't taken care of the ball and haven't covered kicks well enough, it's been a factor all season long, and we continue to address those issues."
Meanwhile, Rosburg said that kicker Billy Cundiff has now had "two good practices" this week after sitting out all of last week with a left calf injury.
Shayne Graham made both of his field goals on Saturday while filling in for Cundiff, and the 11-year veteran is very familiar with kicking in Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium, after spending seven seasons with the Bengals. Cundiff, on the other hand, has had all nine of his missed field goals this season come on the road.
But Rosburg says Graham's experience in Cincinnati and Cundiff's road struggles won't play a factor in who kicks on Sunday.
"I don't think we're necessarily going to weigh where we're playing into the equation," Rosburg said. "We're going to weigh the health of Billy and then make a decision based on that."