It seems every Ravens defensive player on the roster is focused on creating turnovers in 2020. That, naturally, goes for the defensive backs, but the pass-rushers, too.
Outside linebacker Matthew Judon said Monday he’s got the same goals as everyone — the Super Bowl. But he’s got another goal too: To get an interception, the first of his career.
It’d be a first in Judon’s career and would certainly come as a surprise. What wouldn’t be one, however, is an interception from one of the Ravens’ talented cornerbacks, notably Marcus Peters or Marlon Humphrey.
Last year, Peters had three interceptions in just 10 games as a Raven while Humphrey had three as well. Together, they make up two cornerbacks of one of, if not the best, secondaries in the NFL.
“It’ll be the same guys — well, Tavon (Young) is back —but for the most part, it will be the same guys,” Humphrey said Monday. “But it’s a whole new season, and every season is slightly different. It’s really encouraging to start the year with Marcus (Peters), start the year with Tavon, Jimmy’s (Smith) back (after he) signed with us in the offseason. We’re really good.”
The Ravens’ midseason trade for Peters helped elevate the unit to one of the league’s best even with the loss of Young for the entire season with a neck injury and Smith for nearly half the season due to a knee injury.
In the team’s first six games, they allowed 269.5 yards per game through the air, including three straight games from Week 2 to Week 4 of 300-plus yards passing. After Peters arrived, they allowed 169.8 yards per game.
Now the Ravens have Young, one of the game’s best slot cornerbacks, back and healthy. They re-signed Smith in the offseason, creating perhaps the game’s best cornerbacks unit in the league.
“It’s going to take a couple of practices to really figure out how well we’re going to do with different packages, but, right now, I think we’re kind of on that way,” Humphrey said. “We’ve got a lot more steps to take to gel into that secondary that we want to be. We want to be the best in the league, and we’re just going to take it a practice at a time.”
A way to accomplish that is for the Ravens to create more turnovers than they did a year ago. The Ravens had 25 takeaways last season, tied for seventh-best in the league. Their interception totals, however, were a bit lower at 13 picks, tied for 12th in the league.
Humphrey credited Peters with helping him see more opportunities for interceptions than he had before, and even said his goal on every play should be an interception.
“Every time the quarterback drops back to pass, our chances of picking it off is 50-50,” Peters said Tuesday. “So why not give you an opportunity at making a play? Once the ball is in the air, it’s see-ball get-ball. It’s whoever can go get it first. It is what it is after that.”
Peters has routinely been praised for his football intelligence, and with starting safeties Earl Thomas and Chuck Clark, the Ravens’ secondary is poised for a breakout year in the turnover department.
Maybe Judon is able to get his interception, too, but if he does, he certainly won’t have as many as Peters, or the players Peters has impacted in his short time in Baltimore.
“He’s able to see things as it kind of comes,” Humphrey said. “He’s really good at film study and different things. Me trying to turn on that, being more of a student of the game, leaning on him to add something to my game I think is the biggest thing. That’s what I think has led him to be so successful; mainly just the film study and being able to see things way before they happen.”