After losing two costly fumbles in the Ravens’ 22-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday, kick returner David Reed is out as the team’s primary return man.
Not only did Reed cough up two fumbles, but he also cost the Ravens with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the second half of Sunday’s game.
Over the past two games, Reed has fumbled three times.
The former fifth-round draft pick from Utah has been in and out of the lineup for the Ravens in 2011. After being suspended for the season-opener for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy, Reed suffered a shoulder injury causing him to miss two more games.
As a rookie last season, Reed led the NFL in kick return average with a 29.3 yard average a return. He also set a franchise record when he returned a 103-yard kickoff for a touchdown in week 14 against the Houston Texans.
However, this year Reed is averaging almost a full yard less a return (28.6) with a long of 77-yards, which came back in week two against the Tennessee Titans.
Head Coach John Harbaugh hinted that starting cornerback Lardarius Webb is likely the top option to become the team’s primary return man, but he also said he’s too valuable on defense to be exposed to that much contact, according to Aaron Wilson of The Carroll County Times.
“Probably Webb is our best guy if you look at it, but he’s a starting corner and he’s our punt returner,” Harbaugh said of Webb, who ran back a kickoff for a touchdown as a rookie. “You can’t put too much on any one guy’s plate. So, we’re looking for the best guy to do it.”
The Ravens do have some other options to return kicks. Those options include, cornerback Chris Carr, who returned one kickoff for 20 yards in Sunday’s loss, and wide receiver Torrey Smith, who also returned a kickoff 24 yards.
Also, rookie wide receiver LaQuan Williams has averaged 21.8 yards on five returns this season.