OWINGS MILLS – Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan expects big things for himself next season. Just ask him.
“I want to go to the Pro Bowl,” Jernigan said following Wednesday’s OTA practice. “I’m not even going to sit here and lie to you. I definitely want to win more games. That’s first. Help the defense get even better.
“We have huge shoes to fill with Haloti (Ngata) missing. It’s definitely going to be a group effort for all of us, not just me.”
With Jernigan and Brandon Williams, the Ravens have two talented young tackles they are counting on to handle the void left by Ngata’s trade to the Lions. How the Ravens deal with Ngata’s departure will be a key to their season. He was a cornerstone of the Ravens’ run defense for nine seasons, making the Pro Bowl five times.
Now Jernigan will be asked to play a bigger role defensively, after showing his athleticism and ability to make plays in the backfield as a rookie in 2014. Jernigan does not possess Ngata’s power or experience. But Jernigan is quicker, and certainly has star potential if he continues to improve.
That is Jernigan’s goal this season – to raise his game to another level. He studied Ngata last season, and learned plenty.
“How to practice, and how to be perfect,” Jernigan said. “Knowing when he could take a chance going inside on a play. Little things like that. The guy knew plays before they even happened. That’s definitely what I learned from him, the way that he prepared and got ready for games.”
Jernigan said he has grown quickly, competing daily against Ravens guards Marshal Yanda and Kelechi Osemele in practice.
“The blessing about playing for the Ravens is I get to go against Kelechi and Yanda every day,” Jernigan said. “To me I think they’re they two best guards in the league.”
Ravens coach John Harbaugh likes the direction in which Jernigan is headed.
“He’s more confident in what he’s doing defensively,” Harbaugh said. “He likes to play to his strengths, his quickness and explosiveness. I can’t say it’s a dramatic difference, because he’s very confident, but he was really confident last year. He’s a confident guy. He has really high expectations for himself.”
Expectations like making the Pro Bowl.