When safety Tony Jefferson spoke with reporters last week, he talked about coaches allowing him to do more of what he does best.
Jefferson didn’t go into specifics, but the general takeaway was that he was talking about playing closer to the line of scrimmage where his physicality and aggressiveness could be used to plug holes in the run game and lock down tight ends and running backs.
That may be true, but Jefferson showed everyone Friday that he can still make plays in coverage, notching a pair of interceptions during 11-on-11 drills.
One came off a deflection down the sideline on a pass from Joe Flacco that was intended for John Brown. Cornerback Marlon Humphrey knocked the ball up and Jefferson stayed in bounds to snag the interception.
Jefferson’s second interception came when Flacco tried to hit tight end Hayden Hurst down the seam but slightly overthrew his target. Jefferson was waiting over the top for it and leapt to make the catch. It would have been perfect had he not tripped over his own feet during the return, getting a laugh from his defensive teammates and the crowd.
Jefferson had one interception last season in his first year in Baltimore. He has three in his five-year career. If he can grab more this season alongside Eric Weddle, who leads all NFL safeties with 10 over the past two years, it would be a huge boon for Baltimore.
Here are some other notes from practice:
- Guard Alex Lewis, running back Kenneth Dixon, rookie tight end Mark Andrews, rookie tackle Greg Senat and cornerback Bennett Jackson did not practice today, along with the four players on the physically unable to perform list. Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser left the field early with trainers. Head Coach John Harbaugh said they’re all minor camp injuries.
- Wide receiver Chris Moore made the play of the day when he hauled in a deep pass from Flacco with one hand along the sideline. It’s the second time this summer that Moore has made such a play. This time, he did it despite Humphrey getting flagged for defensive pass interference. Moore has all but solidified his No. 4 spot on the wide receiver depth chart.
- Second-year defensive tackle Chris Wormley was praised by Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale Thursday for recent strong practices and made his presence felt again Friday. Wormley used a quick swim move to rip past rookie center Bradley Bozeman and force a throw-away. A couple plays later, the second-year lineman leapt into a passing lane to deflect a pass.
- A group of NFL officials were on hand to review rule changes Friday, and they flexed their authority on the practice field as well. During one-on-one passing drills, refs threw their flags seven times. There were four defensive holding and one defensive pass interference calls. Referees also called two offensive pass interferences on wide receivers.
- Cornerback Maurice Canady had a nice day, including a couple pass breakups during the one-on-one passing drills.
- Rookie linebacker Kenny Young got some buzz when Martindale mentioned him as being in the running for the starting inside linebacker job. Young delivered with a good play in coverage Friday when he broke up a pass down the seam intended for Hurst.
- There was a little sloppiness on the offensive side with multiple bad or mistimed snaps and two false starts. Hurst and left tackle Ronnie Stanley were both flagged for jumping early and both ran down the sideline and back as self-punishment.
- Slants to veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree seem automatic. He’s so good at setting up the route and reliable at catching the ball and getting up the field.
- Wide receiver Tim White continues to flash and is making a solid case to make the 53-man roster for both his skills as a pass-catcher and returner (where he’s atop the depth chart). There’s still a long way to go, however.