Photo Courtesy: USA Today

Tim White Will Get “First Shot” As Returner

July 31, 2018 - 10:37 am

By Joe Schiller

The departure of Michael Campanaro in free agency left the Baltimore Ravens with a spot to fill at the returner position. Despite little-to-no production at wide receiver, Campanaro was a key special teams contributor last season. He led the AFC in return yards (291) and finish tied for first with one touchdown.

There are a number of candidates to fill the void: Willie Snead, Chris Moore, Jordan Lasley, Kenneth Dixon and Janarion Grant to name a few. But when the Ravens take the field in Canton, Ohio on Thursday night for the Hall of Fame Game, Tim White will get the first shot, according to special teams coach Jerry Rosburg.

When asked about the competition on Monday, Rosburg said:

“It’s going to be some live fire out there, so the opportunities are going to be there for it to make that determination. I wouldn’t even venture a guess at this point, because things change rapidly in the league. But Tim is going to get the first shot – he’s earned that. So, when we line up in Canton, Ohio, at 8 o’clock on Thursday night, ‘14’ is going to trot it out there.”

White, an undrafted receiver out of Arizona State, flashed with the Ravens early in training camp and the preseason. But after undergoing thumb surgery, White was stashed on injured reserve for the entire 2017 season.

There was plenty of debate regarding the wide receiver position, White specifically, coming into the offseason. While unproven, White could stand out among a crowded receiver core if he can shine as the clear return option. Given the current depth chart, there’s a legitimate chance the Ravens could take seven wide receivers on the 53-man roster, something they’re not accustomed to doing.

Special teams roles can be a revolving door and one mishap or slip up could cost White a chance to win the starting job.

According to Pro Football Reference, the Ravens ranked second in the NFL in average starting field position last season.

While it may seem obsolete, the return game is crucial in setting up the offensive field position. And for an offense that needs to rebound off an underwhelming season in 2017, it’s important that the Ravens find a viable replacement.