OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Lamar Jackson gets an up-close and personal look at the Ravens defense every day in practice.
He has been impressed by their performance and knows the competition will make him a better quarterback.
“What did they used to always say? ‘Defense wins championships," Jackson said. "We must protect this house.’ Stuff like that. Yes, you know the Ravens’ defense has always been one of the best defenses. I feel like ‘EDC’ [executive vice president and general manager Eric DeCosta] does a great job at bringing guys in, and we already had a lot of guys from last year."
The Ravens have several veterans back on a defense that allowed the NFL’s second-fewest points (18.9) and seventh-fewest yards (329.8) per game. Baltimore also owned the No. 2 third-down defense (34.0%) and produced a league-high 25 forced fumbles.
Cornerback Marlon Humphrey led the NFL with a Ravens’ single-season record eight forced fumbles, also registering a team-high 11 passes defended.
Safety Chuck Clark tallied 96 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble returns, 1.5 sacks, one interception.
Cornerback Marcus Peters tied for the NFL’s third-most takeaways — four Interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Rookie LB Patrick Queen posted a team-high 105 tackles, while he was also the NFL’s only defender with at least 70 tackles, three sacks, two forced fumbles, two fumble returns, one interception and one defensive touchdown.
"We’ve got DeShon [Elliott], ‘Marlo’ [Marlon Humphrey], ‘MP’ [Marcus Peters]. We’ve got [Pernell] McPhee, Calais [Campbell] – those guys – Brandon [Williams]," Jackson said. "We’ve got a lot of vets [veterans] and stuff coming back, and we’ve got great young guys coming in. I just can’t wait to get after it. I’m tired of seeing our defense already because they’re flying around.
"They’re making us compete against them, and it’s going to be, I feel, easier during the game, a lot. But they’re doing a great job right now for us.”