Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan is more than 50 pounds lighter than Haloti Ngata, but he feels ready to fill the large gap created by Ngata’s departure.
Jernigan showed he was up to the task down the stretch last season when Ngata served a four-game PED suspension. Knowing that more snaps were in his future, he trained hard this offseason with former Florida State teammate Darnell Dockett of the 49ers, and is down to a trimmer 295 pounds.
"I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time," Jernigan told The Baltimore Sun. "Yeah, it’s big shoes to fill and all that, but I’m feeling good. I’m feeling ready. I don’t feel stress or pressure. I feel like it’s a great opportunity for me to show everyone what I can do."
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Jernigan recorded 11 tackles and two sacks while Ngata was out, and the Ravens barely missed a beat on defense, winning three of the four games on the way to a playoff berth.
With Ngata now in Detroit, Jernigan is out to prove that he can follow in his predecessor’s footsteps and be a Pro Bowl player himself.
"Man, I definitely want to have bigger numbers than last year and I want to go to the Pro Bowl," Jernigan said. "Ain’t no other way to put it. I just want to prove to people that I can play the run as well. Coming in, they were saying, ‘Oh, he can play the run but he can’t play the pass.’ Now it’s: ‘He can’t play the run but he can play the pass.’"
Jernigan has a different style than Ngata, but fellow tackle Brandon Williams sees one similarity with the former Raven.
"Timmy, that dude’s a beast," Williams said. "He never stops. He’s a pit bull."