Like most players, Ravens defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan wants to play in a Pro Bowl at the end of this season. However, Jernigan has his priorities straight.
I want to go to the Pro Bowl. I’m not even going to sit here and lie to you. I definitely want to win more games – that’s first.
Jernigan will get his chance in 2015 to earn his first Pro Bowl nod and he looks on track to do exactly that. With former Raven Haloti Ngata now playing in Detroit, Jernigan should see more snaps for the Ravens' defense, allowing him to reek havoc on the field. Durign the first open media session of OTAs, Jernigan was regularly in the backfield and handled the Ravens' second team offensive line like they were kids. Going up against former Ravens' center Gino Gradkowski on stunts and zone rushing plays, Jernigan could start off the season with an explosive performance.
In 2014, Jernigan as a rookie found himself in a rotation on the defensive line with Haloti Ngata, Brandon Williams, and Chris Canty. Starting the final three games of his rookie season due to Ngata's suspension, Jernigan held his own against some of the better teams in the league. By the end of the season, he notched 23 tackles and 4 sacks in only 312 snaps and had Pro Football Focus rank him as their 14th-best 3-4 defensive end.
Now that he is helping to fill Ngata's shoes, he was able to learn a great deal behind the All-Pro and is taking those lessons to heart. When asked what he learned from Ngata, Jernigan had this to say:
Definitely how to practice and how to be perfect – with the way that he steps, with his technique, his hands and all of that little stuff, knowing when he can take a chance and go inside on a play, the little things like that. The guy knew plays before they even happened, and that’s definitely what I learned from the way that he prepared and got ready for games.
Even though OTAs are without pads, Jernigan, like most of the Ravens, are taking these practices as an opportunity to improve and knock off some of the rust. Despite not being able to tackle right now, he is finding that "running to the ball - making sure that when the ball is thrown, getting away, getting out of the stack and getting to the ball" is one of the biggest victories he can have right now and he is showing that off in spades during practice.
With Jernigan wanting to win games though, it shows that head coach John Harbaugh has the entire team thinking Super Bowl or bust this season. By focusing on the team's achievements through the win and loss column, the Ravens clearly have their heads in the game and are shooting for greatness this year.