OWINGS MILLS, Maryland – Devin Duvernay never returned punts in high school or college.
He was thrown into the fire with the job last season for the Ravens.
Now in his sophomore year, Duvernay is thriving in that role and leading the NFL with a punt return average of 18.9 yards.
“Honestly, I’m learning on the fly,” Duvernay said. “Last year, when they sent me back there at the end of the year, that was the first time I did. So I never thought that I … I never did it in college, high school, or anything. So, I am still learning. Corn [like] what the coach says, part is just catching the ball and running. So that’s what I did.
Duvernay made a few mistakes but bounced back each time with a big play,
Halfway through the second quarter of Week 3, the Lions reportedly got the ball over the Ravens’ 23-yard line after Duvernay escaped. But a player from Detroit went beyond the limits of punt coverage. Thus, a 5-yard penalty has again kicked the Lions. On the next punt, Duvernay returned the ball for 29 yards to give the Ravens a key position on the field. Duvernay then caught a 19-yard touchdown pass from Jackson for a 10-0 lead.
Last week against the Broncos, Duvernay made another mental error as a returner. This time, he had a good catch at the 4-yard line that put the offense at a disadvantage. He then had a 44-yard return with 30 seconds left in the half that set up a 40-yard field goal from Justin Tucker that gave the Ravens a 17-7 lead.
“Honestly, I never really think about the mistakes I make, or [think about] make a bad decision. I’m just thinking of going out and making the game the next game I get, ”he said.
Duvermay is also becoming a bigger part of the offense and has six receptions on 11 targets for 59 yards with touchdown. He gains self-confidence every week.
“I am extremely more at ease,” said Duvernay. “It just shows the work we have done, and [we] just keep doing it every day in practice. The coaches help me enormously. I keep improving.