Timmy Jernigan gives Ravens some options next season

The Ravens are able to get a good long look at rookie Timmy Jernigan in Haloti Ngata's absence.

It's a situation the Ravens don't have to address now, but it will add to an interesting offseason.

With each snap, rookie defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan is showing what most of us have seen since the first day of training camp. He has the potential to be a standout player.

Jernigan, a second-round pick out of Florida State, isn't just one-dimensional player. He can play the run and collapse the pocket on passing situations.

Against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Jernigan started his second game in place of Haloti Ngata, who is halfway through a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Jernigan had four tackles, including two sacks, against the Jaguars. He also hit quarterback Blake Bortles five times and interrupted several running plays with penetration in the backfield.

There are two full games of Jernigan on video now, so it will be interesting to see how other teams block him. But if Jernigan continues to play well, that might give the Ravens some options in possibly reworking Ngata's contract.

Ngata, in his ninth season, was having a Pro Bowl year until his suspension. He has one year remaining on his contract worth $8.5 million, and he counts $16 million against the salary cap.

With Jernigan and Brandon Williams, the Ravens have two promising tackles. It wouldn't make sense for the Ravens to bring Ngata back at his current salary for next season.

Last year, Ngata didn't want to renegotiate. This year, he might have to.

Canty rises

Another defensive lineman who keeps flying under the radar is end Chris Canty. He got off to a slow start this season because of injuries, but has been a strong presence in the last two games.

Canty had four tackles Sunday against Jacksonville and has been surprising with his pursuit across the field, especially for a player who has been in the league for 10 years.

His leadership, along with outside linebacker Terrell Suggs', has been important down the stretch.

Kubiak could be in demand

It's hard to get a read on offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, but he is bound to at least get an interview for a head coaching job if he wants one.

Kubiak is quiet and seems to be enjoying his first year with the Ravens. He was head coach of the Houston Texans from 2006 to 2013, but maybe he prefers dialing up plays than running his own show again.

He has done a good job of working with quarterback Joe Flacco, and is always adding a new offensive wrinkle. Just when it appears he is predictable, he makes a change to keep the opposition off guard.

Very few teams have run as many variations off one play as Kubiak has with the Ravens waggle pass play, and it works every week.

Schwartz also on head coaching radar

If Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz gets another head coaching job, he will be very successful.

Schwartz can get a little eccentric at times, and he let things get out of hand when he was the head coach of the Detroit Lions from 2009 through 2013, but he is extremely smart and learns from his mistakes.

Schwartz has learned from some of the best defensive minds in the game, including Marvin Lewis, Gunther Cunningham and Bill Belichick. Before the Bills upset the Green Bay Packers, 21-13, on Sunday, the Bills were ranked No. 5 overall in total defense.

Against Green Bay, the Bills held quarterback Aaron Rodgers to 17 of 42 in passing for 185 yards. Rodgers had a quarterback rating of 34.3, the worst of his career.

Sooner or later, someone is going to be smart enough to hire Schwartz, a Mount Saint Joseph graduate and former Ravens assistant, as a head coach again.

Run Joe run

The assumption here is that after watching Flacco drift like a nomad when he got out of the pocket against the San Diego Chargers, the Ravens finally gave him the green light to run the ball.

It amazes me that it took Kubiak 12 games and Flacco seven years to figure that out. Running gives Flacco an added dimension to his game as long as he tucks the football.

Now, if only Flacco didn't close his eyes on quarterback sneaks ...

Slow down

Ravens fans sometimes get a little too quick with the praise. A lot of compliments were being given to cornerback Rashaan Melvin, who received playing time for the Ravens on Sunday.

Here are some words of advice: The Ravens were playing Jacksonville. A lot of nice things were said about cornerback Anthony Levine after his first game recently, and there hasn't been much production since.

Slow starts

I think John Harbaugh might need to revisit some of his earlier words this season about the Ravens getting off to fast starts in games.

Against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, the Ravens went three-and-out on their first three possessions. The Ravens offense produced just a field goal and 137 yards against Jacksonville in the first half Sunday.

While some attribute the slow start to Jacksonville crowding the line of scrimmage with eight or nine players to slow the Ravens' running game, the bottom line is that the Ravens couldn't control Jaguars defensive linemen Red Bryant and Roy Miller III.

The Ravens had no answer for either of the two.

mike.preston@baltsun.com

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