OWINGS MILLS -- The Ravens practice at noon Tuesday, then travel to Philadelphia where they will spend the rest of the week. They have joint practices with the Eagles on Wednesday through Friday, followed by Saturday night’s preseason game against the Eagles. Here’s the buzz surrounding the team heading into Tuesday’s workout:
- Staying healthy is a priority for defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan:
Having the talented Jernigan made the Ravens more willing to trade Haloti Ngata to the Lions. However, Jernigan needs to stay healthy and show his body can hold up over a 16-game schedule. He missed four games last season, and he has been hampered by a foot injury in camp. Jernigan participated in practice Monday, and defensive coordinator Dean Pees hopes Jernigan’s health is turning the corner,
“I wish (Timmy Jernigan) could be in there all the time,” Pees said. “That’s not his fault. I think it’s going well. It’s hard sometimes (to) give you a true evaluation if you don’t see them day, after day, after day, after day. Like Carl Davis, we’re seeing day after day, and I saw him in the game, and I thought he really performed well in the game. So I can give you a little better evaluation. Timmy, I still believe he’s the guy we drafted. I just wish we could get him out there a little more, but again, that’s not his fault.”
- Can the Ravens’ secondary cope if cornerback Lardarius Webb is hampered by injuries?
Webb tweaked his hamstring in practice last week, he didn’t play in the preseason opener, and he did not practice Saturday or Monday. Despite adding cornerback depth this offseason by signing Kyle Arrington and Cassius Vaughn, and drafting Tray Walker, the Ravens are still dependent on Webb and Jimmy Smith, their top two outside corners.
Pees was candid Monday, when asked why he didn’t play more nickel and dime coverage last season. Webb had back issues that hampered him early last season, while Smith missed the second half of last season with a foot injury.
“You saw our secondary last year,” Pees said. “Who would you put at dime? We didn’t have one…We didn’t have a dime. We didn’t have a quarter.
“I’ve done eight DB’s up at New England. We didn’t have them (last year). The bottom line is you have to say, as a defensive coordinator, my job is to put the best 11 football players on the field, regardless of who the heck they are. I’m not going to put a defensive back on the field in place of C. J. Mosley. We just couldn’t do that. We’ll see if that happens this year.”
The Ravens still need Webb to be one of their top corners. But it remains to be seen if his health allows that to happen.