Skip to main content

Dean Pees: Defensive Line May Be Best Since 2010


When Art Jones departed for Indianapolis this offseason, there was concern outside the Under Armour Performance Center walls over who would fill his spot. Jones was a standout and beloved player in Baltimore.

It now appears that Jones' exit will be the latest example of how the Ravens find internal solutions to replace stars that got away.

As Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees sees more of his young defensive line, with many vying for playing time in a rotation, he sees a special group forming.

"I think as a whole this may be one of the best groups … that we've had since I've been here anyhow," said Pees, who has been in Baltimore since 2010.

The Ravens have a handful of young options that could step into the position.

There's second-round defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, fourth-round defensive end Brent Urban, defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore, defensive tackle Brandon Williams and defensive end DeAngelo Tyson.

Each brings something different to the table, and each has been impressive thus far in training camp.

Jernigan is the 6-foot-2, 300-pound athletic specimen out of Florida State. While first-round pick C.J. Mosley has stolen most of the headlines, Jernigan has also been explosive.

He has been in the backfield several times, utilizing an explosive quick step and good work with his hands to burst through gaps. Pees joked that Jernigan is going to be a guy that he starts to yell at, then stops himself to congratulate Jernigan on making a nice play.

"He's just active as heck," Pees said. "It isn't always right, but it's like you watch him on film and [say] 'You can't do that.' He goes, 'Coach, I made the play two yards in the backfield.' 'Well, OK, well maybe you can do it.' I love the guy."

Told about Pees' glowing remarks, Jernigan laughed and said he does need to learn how to play within the scheme better. But part of what makes him an alluring player is that he's a playmaker.

"I feel like I've been doing a great job being a penetrator," Jernigan said. "I feel like that's what I bring to the team. Haloti is more of a plug-[hyphen]up type of guy. He plays a lot more with his strength. I feel like I'm more of a quicker guy getting into the backfield."

The other rookie is Urban, who has an entirely different makeup than Jernigan. Urban stands in at 6-foot-7, 295 pounds. He's used that height to get his hands on a couple passes so far in training camp, and is also playing the run well.

"I tell you, the Urban kid is a big man out there, and he's playing with some power," Pees said.

Baltimore has a couple of potential breakout second-year players as well in Williams and Lewis-Moore.

When veteran defensive end Chris Canty sat out Monday's stadium practice due to a family issue, Lewis-Moore stepped in with the first team. Lewis-Moore missed his entire rookie season as he recovered from a torn ACL, but he's back to being a big-bodied run stuffer who gets good pass-rush push.

Williams is more of the classic nose tackle who can take on blocks in the middle and free up the linebackers to make tackles.

"With our defensive line, I feel like we're versatile, we're deep and we bring a lot to the table with how deep we are," Lewis-Moore said. "We're competing every day, we're having fun in the meeting room. We're just getting better every day."

He's not the youngest of the group, but one of the most impactful players in the mix is the third-year Tyson.

His play was one of five things that stood out to's Greg Bedard upon his visit. Tyson made back-to-back plays in the backfield and is coming off a season in which he began to show himself as a playmaker with 10 tackles, two sacks and an interception.

"This is my third year and I'm learning to play faster and I'm understanding the defense better," Tyson said. "I have two veteran guys in Chris Canty and Haloti Ngata that I learn from. I keep asking them questions that help me become a better player."

Canty and Ngata are the veteran holdovers of the group, taking the young bucks under their wings.

"It's just picking those guys up and bringing them along," Ngata said. "It's just going to take some time, but once you get some time together, they're going to get better and better."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content