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Defense has always been the primary team identity for the Baltimore Ravens. This is a franchise that started with middle linebacker Ray Lewis as one of the team captains in their early years after moving from Cleveland and
changing their name from the Browns to the Ravens.
Lewis is widely considered as the greatest Ravens’ player of all time. But others such as Terrell Suggs, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata have made a huge impact as well. The 2021 Ravens carry on the defense first mindset and have a new leader emerging as a presence on the team.
Fifth-year cornerback Marlon Humphrey signed a five-year, $97 million contract extension with the Ravens last year. Humphrey continued his reign as the top corner for the Ravens as he took on the opposing team’s top wide receiver on a weekly basis. Humphrey embraces the opportunity to be one of the current Ravens’ leaders. However, he wouldn’t go as far as to place himself on the mantle with greats like Lewis and Reed.
“Any time you’re compared to the Ray Lewis’ and the Ed Reed’s, it’s definitely always an honor. I know those guys got some ‘Defensive Player of the Year’ [awards], so I probably need to get one of those in order to really try to be one of those cornerstone pieces. But definitely, it’s always an honor to be compared to those guys.”
“This organization is defense, defense, defense, and with those defenses, you’ve got a lot of guys that you think of when you think of those great defenses,” Humphrey said after the Ravens final minicamp practice this week.
Even though he is only turning 25-years-old next month, Humphrey is one of the veteran players in the defensive backs room. He is spending a lot of time with defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt developing his game and getting more comfortable in the defense. Hard work and understanding of what he is being asked to do is cultivating more confidence in himself. Humphrey is however looking to become more of a vocal leader for the whole defense this year.
The confidence and comfort that he is developing will only help him evolve into the role he is ready to take on.
“I’ve definitely gotten more comfortable here, so that’s just allowed me to be more myself,” Humphrey said during the Ravens final minicamp practice.
“The biggest thing [is], when I come out today, I’m like, ‘Man, I’ve got to get myself going today,’ and the way I do that is to be vocal. And hopefully, a lot of times, it’s kind of a ripple effect; you’re yelling, you’re getting going— trying to get going— and you don’t know what that does for the next man. So, that’s the biggest thing. “
“It’s just kind of the way you want to move. You want to be loud, you want to get going, you want to make sure everybody knows everybody. And so, that’s been the biggest thing for me. Just being comfortable, I’ve been able to be more vocal and knowing the defense and different things, so it kind of all went hand in hand.”
As the Ravens break for the offseason, Humphrey set his goal to improve technique wise so he can continue to ascend as a player. Humphrey hopes the ascension will help the Ravens win their third championship. Then maybe he can be considered a Ravens great like the defensive players that came before him.