OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Keenan Reynolds has yet to make a catch this preseason, and he didn't get a chance to return a kick in last week's game.
Based on this picture, it looks like the converted Navy quarterback is on the verge of sliding off the roster bubble. The Baltimore Ravens see it differently.
Coaches are raving about Reynolds' aggressiveness on coverage teams, his work ethic, and his athletic skills.
"He is America's finest in my view," special-teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg said. "You see him in the meetings, see him on the field. He is doing everything he can to get good at a lot of things, and we are practicing him at a lot of places. He has to find a place, and we have to find a place for him in the games. He is ready to roll.”
Reynolds was one of the most decorated players in Navy history as a triple-option quarterback, finishing as the FBS all-time leader in total touchdowns and winning more games than any other quarterback in school history. The Ravens were elated to draft him in the sixth round with the intention of switching him to a wide receiver and returner.
In two preseason games, Reynolds has struggled to get separation and has had only one pass thrown in his direction. He acknowledged the process has been "humbling."
"This is the highest level and this is the best players in the world," Reynolds said. "It's definitely difficult no matter if you've been playing receiver position your whole life or a few months. I think I've gotten better throughout offseason workouts and [training] camp. I will continue to build on that."
As a returner, Reynolds has had his troubles fielding punts. It seemed like he had one drop a day in training camp, and he has yet to return a punt in a preseason game (one fair catch). The Ravens didn't give one opportunity to Reynolds for a punt return in last week's preseason game.
Reynolds' biggest competition for the returner job is Michael Campanaro, and coach John Harbaugh indicated that Campanaro is "our best guy" for that position at this point.
The Ravens have used Reynolds on special teams beyond the returner role. Reynolds made two tackles in the second preseason game, leading Rosburg to jokingly say, "His first two tackles he ever had in his life happened to be in the NFL."
"He did a great job as a gunner. He ran the show," Rosburg said. "He was aggressive down the field in coverage."
The Ravens must get down to 53 players by Sept. 3. In terms of wide receiver, there are five players who have earned a spot: Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace, Kamar Aiken, Breshad Perriman, and Chris Moore.
This means Reynolds, Campanaro, Jeremy Butler, and Chris Matthews are fighting for one spot or possibly two openings. Reynolds has looked like a practice squad candidate (if he clears waivers) by his slow development as a receiver and return man. What Reynolds has working for him is his versatility.
"As I’ve described before, our returners need to be able to do something more than just be a returner, and he really demonstrated that the other night," Rosburg said. "He’s improving in his catching skills. You know he can run the ball when he has it, so he continues to develop. Positive progress.”