After missing Week 1, Jernigan will likely start at defensive tackle, replacing Haloti Ngata in the Baltimore defense. The 2014 second-round draft pick said during the offseason that he was preparing to play 50-to-55 snaps per game, which could eventually make him an IDP option, if he shows the same pass-rushing talent he flashed in a limited role last season.
Second-year defensive tackle
"I think it's going to be a real close call," Jernigan told ESPN after returning from a knee injury. "I've got a good feeling about it. ... The biggest thing is just seeing how long I can go and making sure that thing doesn't give out after a while."
Jernigan has been tabbed to replace the departed Haloti Ngata in the starting lineup.
Jernigan had missed several days this week, including the preseason opener, with a foot injury.
“I want to go to the Pro Bowl. I’m not even going to sit here and lie to you,” Jernigan said. “I definitely want to win more games. That’s first. You definitely want to win more games, help the defense get even better.”
“I learned a lot,” Jernigan said. “I definitely feel comfortable picking up where I left off last year. I feel really good and everything is starting to seem second nature to me. The biggest thing now is to keep it going and build on top of what I did last year.
“You can’t get complacent with what you did and feel comfortable with where you’re at. I’m just trying to take it to the next level.”
Jernigan recorded 23 tackles and four sacks in 12 games last season.
Jernigan will play a huge role as Ngata's replacement this upcoming season.
"It's definitely something I've been waiting for for a long time," Jernigan said. "I've known I'm more than capable of doing the job. Now it's just a point of proving it. Last year, I showed flashes. You've got to be able to do it consistently day in and day out. It's huge shoes to fill."
Jernigan recorded 23 tackles and four sacks last season in 12 games as a rookie.
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