OWINGS MILLS, Md. — DeShon Elliott took over the starting job at free safety when Earl Thomas was released for throwing a punch at Chuck Clark.
Elliott thrived in the role and he is ready to take his game to the next level.
"I hope Earl is doing well. God bless him. But second, I just feel like last year, when I came into the role, it was more of a mindset of … Excuse my language; it was like, ‘Don’t [mess] up,’ and that was my job," Elliott said. "So, I’m not competing for a spot on this team. I’m competing to be the best safety in the league.
"Now, I just feel like, being on this defense and having a year under my belt … I feel like I really didn’t grasp the speed of the game on the defense until like the playoffs, so I feel like coming out here – even in OTAs – I was moving faster, I can break on things quicker. I see it. I see it. The game has slowed down for me now, so now it’s time for me to go out here and do what I do.”
Elliott battled injuries over his first two seasons after being selected by the Ravens in the sixth round (190th overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft.
Last season, he was fully healthy as a starter and finished with a career-high 80 tackles (51 solo), 2.5 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, 5 quarterback his, 2 forced fumbles and 4 passes defensed for the NFL’s No. 2 scoring defense (18.9 ppg) and No. 2 third-down unit (34.0%).
Expectations are high for Elliott this season, but he is simply staying focused.
"We talk about it all the time – don’t worry about the outside noise, so I’m not really worried about social media, to be honest with you," Elliott said. "We talk about what we’re going to do as a team on this field. At the end of the day, if you play well, and you play as a whole, then you’re going to get the results that you want, and whatever comes after that, comes after that.”