The Baltimore media voted cornerback Marlon Humphrey as the Ravens' 2018 Most Valuable Player, but Humphrey didn't want to accept the award Friday.
Humphrey relayed the message through the team's public relations staff that he did not feel comfortable singling himself out for acclaim.
The Ravens defense has been defined by a "we" mentality this year, which has been one of the reasons it has been so dominant. Baltimore sits atop the NFL in yards (284.1) and points (17.5) allowed per game, yet has just two Pro Bowlers – linebacker C.J. Mosley and safety Eric Weddle. Each week, it seems somebody different has a big game or makes a critical play.
But there's no doubt that Humphrey has been one of the Ravens' top defensive standouts and has emerged as one of the league's best cornerbacks in his second season.
Humphrey has been particularly strong during the Ravens' stretch run. He was the defensive "closer" in the Week 11 win over Cincinnati (pass deflection), Week 15 win against Tampa Bay (sliding interception) and Week 16 victory in Los Angeles (leaping interception).
"That's what it's all about, and that's how you win games," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "You make plays at the end to win games, especially in this league."
Humphrey is graded as the 13th best cornerback in the NFL by Pro Football Focus (PFF). He has held quarterbacks to a 68.1 rating when throwing in his direction, the eighth-best mark in the league.
The Ravens' first-round pick in 2017, Humphrey has always had the physical tools (size, speed, strength) to be an elite cornerback, but his film study and preparation this year have taken him to another level.
Harbaugh attributed it, in part, to Humphrey's family. His father was an NFL running back and his mother was a star on the track.
"He's done a good job growing," Harbaugh said. "He's a quick learner. He's a guy that wanted to do that from the beginning. It's not like he had to be convinced to learn how to be a pro. He wanted to do that."
Local reporters also presented the award for the 2018 Media Good Guy, which went to veteran cornerback Brandon Carr. Carr, who is also the Ravens' Walter Payton Man of the Year winner this year, has consistently made himself available to media and provided insight into the team.
"Thank you! Another surprise, another award, a reflection of my foundation, my parents – the Carr parents," Carr said. "But also, thank you to you all. … We all have a job to do; I appreciate you for doing yours as well."
Carr has also had an excellent season on the field. His interception on the first play from scrimmage in Saturday's win in Los Angeles set the tone. Carr is graded as the NFL's 30th-best cornerback, per PFF, ahead of some household names such as Jalen Ramsey, A.J. Bouye and Kendall Fuller.
"You hear about guys, and we'd always heard that about Brandon Carr, what a pro he is. Until you see it, you don't know, and I was struck by it," Harbaugh said. "When [his teammates] see a guy like that, the way he carries himself, especially the DBs, but really every position, to me, that's the greatest teacher."