Tag Archive | "NFL"

Harbaugh doesn’t have any doubt Ngata deal will get done

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Harbaugh doesn’t have any doubt Ngata deal will get done

Posted on 18 February 2015 by Luke Jones

INDIANAPOLIS — Addressing one of the biggest questions of the offseason, head coach John Harbaugh expressed confidence Wednesday that the Ravens will work out a contract extension with defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.

The five-time Pro Bowl selection carries a $16 million salary cap figure in the final season of a five-year, $61 million contract, but Baltimore is desperately trying to clear cap space by working out an extension that would lower his cap figure by several million dollars and allow the 2006 first-round pick to finish his career with the Ravens. Some have expressed doubt over whether the organization should invest more money in a 31-year-old defensive tackle, but Harbaugh sees plenty of good football in Ngata’s future.

“Haloti’s going to play great. He loves Baltimore. He loves the fans. He loves the organization,” the eighth-year head coach told WNST.net at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis. “He wants to be here. We want him here. It’s just a matter of [senior vice president of football administration] Pat Moriarty and [Ngata's agent] Mike McCartney coming to terms on something that Haloti feels great about and the organization feels great about. I’m real confident we can get that done. I really believe it will get done. I don’t have any doubt in my mind it’ll get done, but it’s got to get done.”

The Ravens are hoping to re-sign the likes of wide receiver Torrey Smith, running back Justin Forsett, and tight end Owen Daniels before they hit free agency next month, making a Ngata resolution a must to clear cap room. After drafting defensive tackles Brandon Williams and Timmy Jernigan in the last two years, the Ravens have built substantial depth around Ngata, but it’s clear they want to continue the relationship at a price that makes sense for both sides.

The Ravens would save $8.5 million in cap space by cutting the veteran defensive lineman.

Harbaugh acknowledged it can be difficult assessing the value of cornerstone players approaching the latter stages of their careers, but he applauded the organization’s ability over the years to project how veteran players will perform in the future. This has led to long-term contract extensions for linebackers Terrell Suggs and Ray Lewis, who were both past the age of 30, in the Harbaugh era.

Despite a four-game suspension for Adderall in December, Ngata had his best season in a few years, making 31 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, seven pass breakups, and two interceptions in 2014.

“Any contract is for what you expect. It’s not for what somebody’s [already] done,” Harbaugh said. “You never pay backwards. You pay forward, so you’ve got to take that into consideration. I think we do a great job of understanding that a lot of what a guy’s done kind of helps predict that in terms of who they are. You’ve got to make a determination.”

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Kubiak calls “elite” Flacco as good as anyone he’s coached

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Kubiak calls “elite” Flacco as good as anyone he’s coached

Posted on 18 February 2015 by Luke Jones

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has fielded countless questions about the future of Peyton Manning since becoming the head coach of the Denver Broncos last month.

At the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, a reporter asked Kubiak an oft-repeated question about his old quarterback in Baltimore.

Is Joe Flacco elite?

“You bet he is. He helped me. It’s probably why I’m standing up here today,” said Kubiak as he laughed. “Joe was tremendous. I really enjoyed working with him — as talented a young man as I’ve ever coached and as good a person as I’ve ever coached. I think we’ll be talking about Joe for a long, long time. I really appreciated my time with him, and I wish him the best.”

Not only leading the Ravens offense to franchise-best marks in total yards and points scored, Kubiak guided Flacco to arguably the best regular season of his seven-year career. The 30-year-old threw a career-best 27 touchdowns and completed 62.1 percent of his passes, his best completion rate since 2010.

And while Kubiak already owned a coaching résumé that included an eight-year stint as the head coach of the Houston Texans, the 53-year-old once again praised the Ravens organization for the opportunity it provided last season. He’s using that experience in Denver, a place he previously spent two decades as a player and assistant coach.

“I took a lot of things,” Kubiak said. “I went there because I knew what the organization stood for. I knew what John [Harbaugh] stood for. That’s what I wanted to be a part of — the tremendous expectations there. I just think the job that they do as an organization, everybody’s on the same page and working together. I think Ozzie [Newsome] was tremendous for me to watch him in the draft and Eric DeCosta. That was very beneficial for me.

“To watch the team go through [the Ray Rice] situation early in the season and watch the organization deal with that. For me as a head coach, watching them deal with that situation and bring the football team out of it in a very positive way was very beneficial. Football-wise, a very experienced staff [with] Dean Pees and some of the coaches I got a chance to work with. The bottom line is watching a successful organization go about it every day — one that’s been there each and every year — I take a lot of that with me.”

Kubiak reiterated Wednesday that he wants Manning to return as the Broncos quarterback and said all indications are pointing toward that happening in 2015. Though the schedule won’t be finalized with dates until this spring, the Ravens will travel to Denver to take on the Broncos this coming season.

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Forsett’s son arrives during Valentine’s Day storm

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Forsett’s son arrives during Valentine’s Day storm

Posted on 16 February 2015 by Luke Jones

An unforgettable year became a little crazier for Ravens running back Justin Forsett over the weekend as his wife gave birth to their second son.

Planning to see a Lauryn Hill concert to celebrate Valentine’s Day, Forsett instead had to drive his wife to the hospital to give birth to their son, Zion. It wasn’t until Sunday, however, that we found out how close the 29-year-old Pro Bowl selection came to possibly needing to deliver the baby in the car.

On Instagram, Forsett explained the timing of his wife going into labor and how it coincided with Saturday’s snowfall.

“S/O to my wife @michellekole it took her 4hrs from start to finish to deliver our son Zion,” Forsett wrote. “I thought I was going to have to deliver the baby myself in the car on the way to the Birthing Center it happened so fast last night. Driving in that snow storm definitely added a different element to the experience as well but it all worked out. Best Valentines Day Gift ever! So Glad to have Zion J. Forsett home!”

Forsett is set to become a free agent next month, but he and his family continue to spend this offseason in Baltimore.

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Draft prospects being mocked to Ravens at 26th overall

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Draft prospects being mocked to Ravens at 26th overall

Posted on 13 February 2015 by Luke Jones

Despite the NFL draft being more than two months away, many pundits haven’t wasted time in putting together their mock drafts before commissioner Roger Goodell finally steps to the podium in Chicago and announces the first pick on April 30.

The Ravens currently have needs at cornerback, wide receiver, tight end, running back, and safety, so it will be interesting to see which priorities remain in the spring, especially with a very tight salary-cap situation.

Below is a look at five players who have recently been mocked to Baltimore with the 26th overall pick in different publications:

WR Dorial Green-Beckham (Rob Rang of CBSSports.com)
My take: Even if the Ravens are able to re-sign Torrey Smith, taking a wide receiver early in the draft would be wise with Steve Smith turning 36 later this year. There’s no denying that Green-Beckham’s size (6-foot-5 and 225 pounds) and speed are intriguing, but multiple marijuana-related arrests led to his dismissal at Missouri and raise red flags about his maturity and commitment to football. Draft pundits have compared him to A.J. Green, but the 21-year-old will really need to impress during the interview process to make teams comfortable in taking him, especially in the first round.

TE Maxx Williams (Mel Kiper of ESPN.com)
My take: Should veteran Dennis Pitta attempt to continue his NFL career, the Ravens would still have a need at tight end with Owen Daniels a free agent and 2014 third-round pick Crockett Gillmore not showing enough to indicate he can become a No. 1 option just yet. Williams is regarded as the top tight end in this year’s draft class even though he was part of a run-oriented attack at the University of Minnesota. He has excellent hands and made several highlight catches in his collegiate career, but some experts believe he needs to add strength to become a better blocker despite a 6-foot-4, 250-pound frame.

RB Melvin Gordon (Charles Davis of NFL.com)
My take: Considering a running back hasn’t been taken in the first round since 2012, the choice of Gordon feels underwhelming after the stout Baltimore offensive line opened running lanes for journeyman Justin Forsett to rush for over 1,250 yards this past season. However, Gordon became the second all-time single-season rusher in FBS history with 2,587 yards in 2014 and played under current Ravens running backs coach Thomas Hammock at Wisconsin, meaning the organization should know him very well. If the Ravens take Gordon, you assume they would have visions of him quickly becoming one of the best backs in the NFL.

WR Devin Funchess (Matt Miller of BleacherReport.com)
My take: The 6-foot-5, 230-pound former tight end would be a matchup nightmare for most cornerbacks and will use his leaping ability and frame to attack the football, which would give the Ravens the giant weapon inside the red zone that they’ve lacked for years. Funchess is still regarded as raw in terms of route-running ability and needs to develop more consistent hands. Much like Kelvin Benjamin in last year’s draft, the Michigan product is considered a high-risk, high-reward prospect, but he doesn’t carry the off-field baggage of a wide receiver like Green-Beckham.

CB Quinten Rollins (Eric Galko of SportingNews.com)
My take: Other mock drafts have linked the Ravens to cornerbacks such as Marcus Peters and Jalen Collins, but Rollins would be an intriguing choice considering he played only one year of college football at Miami of Ohio, which is John Harbaugh’s alma mater. The former basketball player had a standout 2014 for the RedHawks, earning MAC Defensive Player of the Year honors with 72 tackles and seven interceptions. The pre-draft process will be critical for the 5-foot-11, 193-pound Rollins with a limited body of work behind him, but his toughness and natural gifts will make teams think upside while he tries to refine his technique.

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Rice apologizes to Baltimore as anniversary of Atlantic City incident approaches

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Rice apologizes to Baltimore as anniversary of Atlantic City incident approaches

Posted on 13 February 2015 by Luke Jones

As the one-year anniversary of the infamous domestic-violence incident that resulted in the end of his career in Baltimore falls this weekend, Ray Rice issued a statement of apology and thanks to the city and Ravens fans.

In a letter to The Baltimore Sun, the 28-year-old running back again expressed regret for striking his wife inside a casino elevator in Atlantic City early on the morning of Feb. 15, 2014. After his aggravated assault case was resolved without any prison time and he initially received a two-game suspension, video surfaced of the incident on Sept. 8, which led to the Ravens terminating Rice’s contract and the NFL suspending him indefinitely later that same day.

“To all the kids who looked up to me, I’m truly sorry for letting you down,” Rice wrote in his letter, “but I hope it’s helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare. There is no excuse for domestic violence, and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I hope to make a positive difference in people’s lives by raising awareness of this issue.”

Rice won his appeal of the NFL’s indefinite suspension and was reinstated in November, but no team signed him before the conclusion of the 2014 season. The Sun reports Rice now plans to leave Baltimore and return to his native New York as he hopes to continue his NFL career.

His wrongful termination grievance filed against the Ravens was settled in January, but terms were not released. Rice also thanked the organization, mentioning owner Steve Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome, and head coach John Harbaugh specifically and expressing pride in winning Super Bowl XLVII.

Below is Rice’s full letter to The Sun:

Dear Baltimore,

This is not a farewell or goodbye. The last seven years that my family and I have spent in Baltimore have by far been the best of our lives. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you all for the love and support you’ve shown my family and I throughout my football career. We’ll always be grateful for the love we’ve received from all of our fans and supporters, and for winning a Super Bowl. To all the kids who looked up to me, I’m truly sorry for letting you down, but I hope it’s helped you learn that one bad decision can turn your dream into a nightmare. There is no excuse for domestic violence, and I apologize for the horrible mistake I made. I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me, and I hope to make a positive difference in people’s lives by raising awareness of this issue. Thank you, Baltimore Ravens, for all you have done for my family and I. I’m very grateful to Steve Bisciotti, Ozzie Newsome, John Harbaugh, and everyone at 1 Winning Drive. I love you all very much, and I’ll always be proud to say I played for the Baltimore Ravens.

Thank you.

– Ray Rice

 

 

 

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Key dates on NFL offseason calendar

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Key dates on NFL offseason calendar

Posted on 12 February 2015 by Luke Jones

Even if we’re in the midst of a rare quiet time in the NFL calendar, below is a look at what’s coming up for the Ravens and the other 31 NFL teams as the offseason kicks into high gear in the coming weeks:

February 16 — First day for clubs to designate franchise or transition players

February 17-23 — NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis

February 24 — Ravens hold their 2014 season-review/2015 season-preview press conference at 2 p.m. in Owings Mills

March 2 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., deadline for clubs to designate franchise or transition players

March 7-10 — Clubs are permitted to contact and enter into contract negotiations with the certified agents of players who will become unrestricted free agents upon the expiration of their 2014 contracts at 4:00 p.m. on March 10. However, a contract cannot be executed with a new club until the official start of free agency on that day.

March 10 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., clubs must exercise options for 2015 on all players who have option clauses in their 2014 contracts.

March 10 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., clubs must submit qualifying offers to their restricted free agents with expiring contracts and to whom they desire to retain a right of first refusal/compensation.

March 10 — Prior to 4:00 p.m., clubs must submit a minimum salary tender to retain exclusive negotiating rights to their players with expiring 2014 contracts and who have fewer than three accrued seasons of free agency credit.

“Rule of 51″ begins. All clubs must be under the 2015 salary cap prior to 4:00 p.m.

All 2014 player contracts expire at 4:00 p.m.

The 2015 league year and free agency period begin at 4:00 p.m.

Trading period for 2015 begins at 4:00 p.m. after expiration of all 2014 contracts.

March 22-25 — NFL annual meeting in Phoenix

April 6 — Clubs that hired a new head coach after the end of the 2014 regular season may begin offseason workout programs.

April 20 — Clubs with returning head coaches may begin offseason workout programs.

April 24 — Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets

April 29 — Deadline for prior club to exercise right of first refusal to restricted free agents

April 30-May 2 — NFL draft in Chicago

May 8-11 or May 15-18 — Clubs may elect to hold their three-day post-draft rookie minicamp from Friday through Sunday or Saturday through Monday.

May 18-20 — NFL spring league meeting in San Francisco

June 21-27 — Rookie symposium in Aurora, Ohio

July 15 — At 4:00 p.m., deadline for any club that designated a franchise player to sign such player to a multi-year contract or extension. After this date, the player may sign only a one-year contract with his prior club for the 2015 season, and such contract cannot be extended until after the club’s last regular-season game.

Mid-July — Clubs are permitted to open preseason training camp for rookies and first-year players beginning seven days prior to the club’s earliest permissible mandatory reporting date for veteran players.

Veteran players (defined as a player with at least one pension-credited season) other than quarterbacks or “injured players” may report to a club’s preseason training camp no earlier than 15 days prior to the club’s first scheduled preseason game or July 15, whichever is later.

Veteran quarterbacks and injured players may be required to report to the club’s preseason training camp no earlier than five days immediately prior to the mandatory reporting date for all other veteran players, provided the club has already opened (or simultaneously opens) its official preseason training camp for all rookies and first-year players.

A three-day acclimation period will apply to players who are on a club’s roster up to and including the mandatory veteran reporting date. Players who join the roster after that date may practice (including wearing pads) and play immediately after passing a physical.

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McCown-Trestman reunion likely not worth investment for Ravens

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McCown-Trestman reunion likely not worth investment for Ravens

Posted on 11 February 2015 by Luke Jones

The speculation began as soon as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced the release of veteran quarterback Josh McCown on Wednesday.

With an uncertain backup quarterback situation for 2015, might the Ravens consider reuniting the 35-year-old with offensive coordinator Marc Trestman? McCown experienced the best season of his career under Trestman in Chicago, throwing 13 touchdowns and just one interception while posting a 109.0 passer rating in eight games (five starts) during the 2013 season.

It makes sense strictly from a football standpoint, but their highly-publicized salary-cap issues make a signing unlikely. The Ravens haven’t invested real money in a backup quarterback since 2010 when they paid veteran Marc Bulger — who never took a snap — $3.8 million in an uncapped season that preceded a new collective bargaining agreement a year later. General manager Ozzie Newsome saved plenty of cap space over the last four years simply rolling the dice with 2011 sixth-round pick Tyrod Taylor as the backup.

Even if franchise quarterback Joe Flacco fails to continue his streak of never missing a start in 2015, it’s difficult to justify pumping real money into a backup who might never play. If a short-term injury were to occur, the Ravens will try to survive with a cheaper option — 2014 sixth-round pick Keith Wenning is a clear possibility — and perhaps look for a veteran on the free-agent market. If Flacco were to go down with a long-term ailment, the Ravens — like any team lucky enough to have a franchise quarterback — aren’t winning a championship with McCown anyway.

On the flip side, McCown likely wouldn’t view the Ravens as an ideal destination if he has any interest in actually playing in 2015. A number of teams with shaky quarterback situations would be better landing spots and willing to pay him more money.

After signing a two-year, $10 million contract last offseason, McCown struggled in his lone season with Tampa Bay, throwing 11 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in 11 starts. With McCown’s release, the Buccaneers are expected to draft Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota with the first overall pick of this year’s draft.

If he’s interested in a veteran-minimum contract, it makes sense for Baltimore.

Anything beyond that would be a poor investment for a team with Super Bowl aspirations and a number of other important positions to address this offseason.

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Five young players the Ravens need more from in 2015

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Five young players the Ravens need more from in 2015

Posted on 10 February 2015 by Luke Jones

With the Ravens coming off a 10-6 season that included a return to the playoffs after a one-year absence, the job this winter will be to augment a roster that has plenty of talent but clear deficiencies at several spots.

However, with a poor salary-cap situation and only so many holes that can be filled through the draft, the Ravens will lean on a handful of young players already on the roster to emerge and make a difference with another year of experience under their belts.

Below are five young players the Ravens will need more from in order to build on their 2014 campaign:

1. S Matt Elam

Through two years, it’s no secret that Elam has looked like the worst defensive first-round pick in franchise history, but the Ravens aren’t going to give up on the University of Florida product as quickly as many fans would like. In fairness, the 5-foot-10 safety was asked to play out of position for a second straight year — playing extensively at the nickel due to injuries — but leading the team in missed tackles doesn’t make a good argument for him to be the starting strong safety, either. Elam needs to take advantage of this offseason to improve after admitting he didn’t handle his demotion well in terms of putting in good effort during practices. Baltimore won’t pencil him in as a starter, so Elam needs to take advantage of his opportunities this summer.

2. TE Crockett Gillmore

The 2014 third-round pick had a solid rookie campaign considering he was supposed to be the No. 3 tight end entering the year, but the Ravens hope the signs he showed as a receiver late in the year will translate to more production in 2015. With Dennis Pitta’s future unclear and Owen Daniels scheduled to become a free agent, Gillmore is the most reliable option the Ravens currently have at the position. Even if those veterans return, Gillmore will be counted on more in the passing game after proving himself as a capable blocker. General manager Ozzie Newsome will likely look to address the tight end position this offseason, but Gillmore’s continued development would go a long way in helping quarterback Joe Flacco next season.

3. DE Brent Urban

Normally, it’d be unfair to include a player on this list who’s coming off a season-ending knee injury suffered in his first training camp, but veteran Chris Canty may retire or be released and reserve Lawrence Guy is a free agent, meaning the Ravens will hope the fourth-round pick can be a factor at the 5-technique defensive end position in 2015. The organization loved Urban’s 6-foot-7, 295-pound frame coming out of Virginia, and the timing of his injury last summer would presumably allow him to be a full participant in training camp this summer. It’s unlikely that Urban will simply be penciled in as the starter with veteran DeAngelo Tyson still on the roster, but the Ravens drafted him last May with visions of him eventually replacing Canty.

4. S Terrence Brooks

The season-ending knee injury the 2014 third-round pick suffered in December ended a disappointing first year for the Florida State product, who often looked unsure of himself in coverage and gave up big plays at a few critical junctures. The emergence of Will Hill in the second half of the season brought some stability to the position, but Hill’s off-field baggage is good reason for Brooks to be ready to seize opportunities when he’s healthy enough to get back on the field. Last May, the Ravens had to be hoping that Brooks and Elam would be their starting safety tandem for years to come, but both have much to prove going into the 2015 season. Unfortunately, getting healthy is the first item on the offseason agenda for the athletic Brooks.

5. LB Arthur Brown

When you’re active for only four games and can’t even get on the field as a special-teams contributor, what else needs to be said for a second-round pick after two seasons? It wasn’t surprising to see Brown’s defensive role diminish — he saw time as a nickel linebacker as a rookie — after C.J. Mosley was selected in the first round, but the Ravens regularly going with undrafted rookie Zachary Orr for special teams on game days didn’t speak well for Brown’s athleticism. So, why not simply admit he was a bust and move on? Mosley and Daryl Smith remained healthy enough to play over 1,000 snaps each in 2014. The odds suggest that’s unlikely to happen again, so it’d be nice to see Brown improve enough to at least become a solid backup in his third year.

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Ravens “respect” Jamal Lewis’ decision to sell Super Bowl ring

Posted on 09 February 2015 by Luke Jones

A day after news broke of former Ravens running back Jamal Lewis’ Super Bowl XLVII ring being auctioned off for $50,820, the organization publicly offered their support to the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.

In a statement released Monday afternoon, the Ravens revealed the 35-year-old Ring of Honor member reached out to the organization regarding the matter. However, it is unclear whether Lewis talked to them before or after the ring was sold.

“Jamal Lewis informed us that he was forced to sell the Super Bowl XLVII ring due to financial difficulties,” the statement read. “We understand and respect his decision.”

Lewis was one of five Ring of Honor members to receive Super Bowl XLVII rings as a gift from owner Steve Bisciotti. The 2000 first-round pick filed for bankruptcy in 2012, less than three years after his NFL career came to an end.

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Is Jernigan ready to replace Ngata if needed?

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Is Jernigan ready to replace Ngata if needed?

Posted on 09 February 2015 by Luke Jones

As the future of Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata appears to be moving toward a resolution after months of speculation, little focus has been placed on the man who could replace him on the starting defensive line.

The 22-year-old Timmy Jernigan provided a good return in his rookie season after the Ravens selected him with the 48th overall pick last May, but does the Florida State product satisfy the “80-20″ rule quoted by some as justification to release Ngata if the sides are unable to work out a contract extension in the coming weeks? It’s easy to look at Ngata’s scheduled $16 million cap figure for 2015 and a potential $8.5 million in salary-cap savings and sign off on a divorce from a financial standpoint, but general manager Ozzie Newsome must be sure a deep — but young — defensive line has the means to replace the five-time Pro Bowl selection.

Despite missing five games due to knee and ankle injuries in his rookie season in Baltimore, Jernigan flashed his potential on more than one occasion, but did the Ravens see enough in his part-time role to envision heavier responsibilities as soon as this coming season? At least one veteran teammate was impressed as Jernigan filled in for Ngata during the latter’s four-game suspension for Adderall use.

“He’s a dog. He’s going to be a really good football player for a long time in the National Football League,” defensive end Chris Canty said in late December. “I noticed that when I came here for the minicamp [last June], just his aggressive play, his physical nature, his quick twitch jumping off the ball. He’s got a lot of great attributes. He’s constantly learning from [defensive line coach Clarence Brooks] and some of the other vets on the nuances of the game.”

It may be that four-game ban that provided the Ravens with the necessary leverage and confidence to negotiate more rigidly with Ngata this offseason. In four games as his primary replacement to close the regular season, Jernigan collected two sacks and seven tackles and earned a positive grade from Pro Football Focus in all but one contest — the 25-13 loss to Houston in which little went right for the Ravens.

Prior to suffering the ankle injury that forced him out of the regular-season finale against Cleveland and the wild-card round against Pittsburgh, Jernigan played in more than half of the Ravens’ defensive snaps in three straight games and fared well in an increased role. It was the only time all season he held an expanded role as he typically served as a replacement for Ngata or Brandon Williams every few series and as a rush specialist in certain passing situations.

Of all 3-4 defensive ends who appeared in at least 25 percent of his team’s snaps, Jernigan earned PFF’s 14th-highest cumulative grade while Ngata finished ninth. The optimist views such an assessment as there being room for Jernigan to grade even higher with more opportunities while skeptics may wonder if extensive playing time might expose the young defensive lineman’s shortcomings.

At 6-foot-2 and 300 pounds, the undersized Jernigan doesn’t compare to Ngata’s 6-foot-4, 340-pound presence, but few players do. And let’s not forget how third-year nose tackle Brandon Williams will fit into the picture after emerging as an above-average player in his first season as a starter. Comparing Jernigan’s skill set to Ngata in his prime would be unfair, but his quickness, strength, and leverage at the 3-technique project well — even if he lacks Ngata’s massive frame — against the run and as a rusher.

In 330 defensive snaps last year, Jernigan amassed 23 tackles and four sacks. Ngata collected 31 tackles, two sacks, seven pass breakups, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions in 546 defensive snaps. According to PFF, Jernigan’s 12 quarterback hurries and seven quarterback hits outdid Ngata (14 hurries and two quarterback hits) and the rookie registered 14 “stops” (defined as the number of solo tackles including sacks made which constituted an offensive failure) compared to Ngata’s 16.

Durability is a question as meniscus surgery sidelined Jernigan for four games early in the season, but he rebounded quickly from the ankle injury in Week 17 to return for the divisional round after only a one-game absence. Returning to a rotational role, Jernigan sacked New England quarterback Tom Brady and collected another tackle in the 35-31 loss that ended Baltimore’s season.

It might be unfair to ask whether Jernigan will be the better player in 2015, but wondering if the young defensive tackle will outperform Ngata by 2016 and 2017 when the veteran is approaching his mid-30s is an entirely different matter. And that could be the tipping point as the Ravens try to determine a dollar figure that makes sense for extending their 31-year-old defensive tackle, who had a strong 2014 season but battled nagging injuries that hindered his play in the previous two years.

“Once he puts it all together and the game slows down for him, it’s going to be scary,” said Canty late last season about Jernigan’s potential. “It’s going to be really scary. He’s going to be really, really good.”

Depending on what happens with Ngata, the Ravens may need Jernigan’s full potential to be realized sooner rather than later.

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