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Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan goes 'full speed' in return to full-team practice

Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan says his recent foot injury wasn't serious.

In his return to practice last Saturday after missing about a week with a foot injury, Ravens defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan slammed the blocking dummies with such force that his teammates hollered their approval.

It wasn't his intention, but Jernigan made a clear statement that he's healthy and ready to resume preparation for the 2015 season.

"That's just the way I play," he said. "Any time I'm on the field, I try to go one speed. It's either you're going full speed or you're not doing [anything] at all."

Jernigan's injury, which forced him to sit out the Ravens' preseason opener against the New Orleans Saints, was a relatively minor one. However, it created some angst given that the second-year player has had some health issues in the past, including last season when he missed four games with a meniscus injury in his knee. The Ravens are also counting on him to replace longtime fixture Haloti Ngata along the defensive front.

"The biggest thing there is the fact that I wish he could be in there all the time. That's not his fault," Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "I think it's going well. It's hard to sometimes give you a true evaluation if you don't see them day after day after day. Like Carl Davis, we're seeing day after day, and I saw him in the game, and I thought he really performed well. So, I can give you a little better evaluation. Timmy, I still believe he's the guy that we drafted. I just wish we could get him out there a little more, but again, that's not his fault."

Jernigan, who had 23 tackles and four sacks in 12 games in his rookie season and was at his best during Ngata's four-game suspension, acknowledged it's been frustrating to not be on the field as much as he'd like. But he took solace in that his latest injury wasn't serious and his body feels healthy and fresh.

"In this situation, I knew that I would be back. I knew it wasn't a situation where, 'Oh man, I'm going to miss some serious time,'" Jernigan said. "I knew it was nothing like that. What my coaches preach to me is to make sure you're ready for Sunday, make sure you're ready for the game. At the end of the day, we've got great trainers. They're going to make sure that I go about doing things the right way as far as getting back on the field. I feel good about where I'm at."

After essentially only doing individual drills in his return last Saturday, Jernigan regained his spot with the first-team defense Monday and had a strong practice, frequently getting penetration to disturb running plays.

"He's missed some time, but he's a hard worker. He's a top competitor. That hasn't changed. I don't expect to see anything different from him," Ravens defensive end Chris Canty said. "He continues to improve. We have all the confidence that he can step in there and get the job done, no matter where we put him in the defensive front. He brings a different element to our defensive front. He's quick twitch. He's got a lot of wiggle for a defensive lineman. That's one of the things that's a strong suit for his game, and really becomes a strength for the guys in our room."

End zone

Pees praised undrafted rookie free agent safety Nick Perry, saying that the former Alabama player is a "typical prodigy of Nick Saban" and predicting that he has a future in the league. … Trestman was the latest Ravens' coach to express hope that rookie first-round draft pick Breshad Perriman returns to the practice field soon. Perriman hasn't practiced since July 30 because of a knee injury. … The Ravens have an 8:30 a.m. practice Tuesday before they head up to Philadelphia for the start of joint practices with the Eagles on Wednesday. … Wanting to give kicker Justin Tucker a day to rest his leg, the Ravens had punter Sam Koch take most of the field-goal attempts Monday.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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