When the Ravens line up for their first kickoff return of the regular season at Denver on Sept. 13, who, exactly, will be deep to return?
That is one of the major unsolved issues of the preseason for the Ravens, and it's definitely possible that the Ravens kick returner in Week 1 isn't even on the roster right now.
More than 600 players will be cut between now and Saturday, and if some of them can field kicks, they might just get a call from Ozzie Newsome.
Asa Jackson had every opportunity to win the job, and he showed big-play potential with a 103-yard kickoff return against the Redskins and a 52-yard punt return against the Falcons. But he also showed the propensity to turn the ball over, with punt return fumbles in each of the last two games. Not much raises the ire of coach John Harbaugh more than failing to take care of the ball. Coupled with Jackson's uneven play as a cornerback, he can't be leaving Atlanta with a lot of job security.
If not Jackson, then who?
Backup running back Terrence Magee had a 25-yard kickoff return against the Falcons, and wide receiver Tom Nelson had a 26-yard return. But Nelson didn't do enough to make the team as a receiver, so scratch him off the list. And DeAndre Carter, who had a couple of chances early in preseason, has been cut after fumbling away his chance.
Talk about an underwhelming competition.
Michael Campanaro, who had one punt return for 10 yards this preseason, is listed on the Ravens depth chart as the No. 2 kickoff returner behind Jackson and the No. 1 punt returner. But he has spent much of this preseason -- and his NFL career -- hurt. Can they rely on him?
At one point, Harbaugh described Steve Smith and Lardarius Webb as "aces in the hole" who could always be fallback options. But Webb hasn't been healthy enough to be on the field, and would they really risk having anything happen to Smith on special teams when he is such an invaluable part of the offense?
The Ravens and special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg cannot be pleased that six weeks of camp and four preseason games brought so little clarity to the position.
Once the cuts start happening, Ozzie Newsome will be watching closely. He has frequently found success with others' castoffs, and he should be looking at kick returners very closely.