Early in training camp, defensive coordinator Dean Pees already sees Timmy Jernigan’s potential to make plays as a defensive tackle. Jernigan’s quickness and athleticism for someone who weighs 300-plus pounds is unusual.
Does Jernigan always use the proper technique? No. But his talent often overcomes his mistakes.
“I told Jernigan the other night he can be one of those guys I’m going to yell – “Tim! Nice play,’’’ Pees said laughing. “He’s just active as heck. It isn’t always right, but it’s like you watch him on film and (say) ‘You can’t do that.’ He goes, ‘Coach, I made the play two yards in the backfield.’ Well, OK, maybe you can do it.”
Jernigan, a second-round draft pick, is clearly in the mix to earn regular playing time in the defensive line rotation. If Jernigan plays well, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata may be able to take fewer reps without negatively impacting the Ravens’ defense.
“I definitely think I can be even more consistent,” Jernigan said. “I feel like I’ve been doing a great job of being a penetrator. I feel like that’s what I bring to the team. Haloti’s more of a plug-up type a guy. He plays a lot more with his strength. I feel like I’m more of a guy getting in the backfield.
“I look to be a playmaker, but at the same time you’ve got to be disciplined and be able to make plays throughout the scheme. That’s definitely a big thing I want to get better at – being more disciplined throughout the scheme. At the end of the day it’s about the team, it’s about the defense, it ain’t about me.”
However, the Ravens didn’t win as many defensive battles up front as they wanted last season. They want to be more physical and aggressive defensively, and Jernigan may help them accomplish that. He does not lack confidence, or passion.
“I know that I’m going to play, and be able to get into the rotation,” Jernigan said. “Whatever my role is, whether it’s defense, special teams, anything. I just want to be able to get on the field. I feel like the coaches have been pleased with the way I’ve been playing. The biggest thing for me is to be able to do it day in day out. I can’t just do it two or three days at the beginning of training camp.”