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Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan Must Elevate Games

The two defensive linemen need to consistently add pass rush contributions.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Williams has the opportunity to get himself paid. Whether he is viewed as a franchise cornerstone, perhaps in the mold of Haloti Ngata will not only depend on his ability to rush the passer but also and more importantly the rate at which he records his pressures. Williams has put up two sacks in the two years he has been the team's nose tackle. While he did not feature in the pass rushing band that tore the league apart in 2014, he had plenty of opportunities to leave his mark on the games p;played. His only sack came on a stunt against the Cleveland Browns in week 5.

It is perhaps too much to ask for a nose tackle. But in the Ravens scheme and especially when facing AFC North opponents, the Ravens defense tends to come out in their base defense on early downs, showing two deep safeties, generally meaning the coverage is either cover three, cover four or cover six which is a combination of the two. If opponents spread the field, the Ravens answer by motioning the SAM linebacker out over the crowded side of the offenses' formation. Courtney Upshaw found himself in this position. Oh, the horror.

Early down success is ultimately reaped in later downs. Brandon Williams is the key to slowing down early down passing when the ravens often find themselves playing more conservative coverages. He could stand to improve his hand work and his burst to help him defeat double teams. Since he is a nose tackle, getting his sack numbers up from 1 to 3-5 would not be asking the moon of him.

Timmy Jernigan however, was brought in as penetrating three-technique. After a promising rookie season, which saw him posting 4 sacks in almost half a season, most thought it was only logical to expect double the number. The problem with Jernigan lies with the speed with which he executes. Whether it's a tackle-stunt or getting off the line, he is too often one beat slow and one step late. Besides his patented swim move, which destroys offensive linemen that are caught overextending, Jernigan's pass rush moves are scarce.

Quarterback hits are all well and good. But to get back to an elite level, the Ravens will need plays to be finished. Nothing lower should be expected. After all, if one is not pissed off for greatness, one is okay with being mediocre.