Ravens middle linebacker C.J. Mosley had two interceptions as a rookie, zero last year and he already has two through three games this year. He joked following Sunday's 19-17 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars that the lighter wrap he's wearing on his surgically-repaired wrist compared to the one he had on last year has allowed him to hold onto balls thrown in his direction.
Mosley, though, understands that an explanation of the team's five interceptions through three games is a little more complicated than that. After getting a franchise-low six interceptions last season, Ravens coach John Harbaugh and new secondary coach Leslie Frazier stressed the importance of creating turnovers in just about every meeting.
The team worked on it in training camp practices, having the defensive backs catch tennis balls to improve ball skills and working on various tip drills. As Mosley explained, it goes beyond even that.
"Really, what it is, we're doing our job," Mosley said. "We're getting in the right position and doing the right drops, and everybody is making the right read."
Mosley, who made a nifty one-handed interception late in the first quarter against the Jaguars after taking an extremely deep drop, used fellow linebacker Zachary Orr's game-securing interception as an example of the team's improved ball-hawking mindset. Orr dropped back deep and wound up picking off a pass that safety Lardarius Webb deflected.
"Like Zach said, when you run to the ball, those kinds of plays happen," Mosley said. "He ran to the ball, was working inside and the next thing you know, the ball pops in his hands. We just got to keep that going."
The Ravens, who have all five of those interceptions in the past two games, are currently tied for second in the league in that category. They trail the Kansas City Chiefs, who have a league-leading eight interceptions, including six of New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick in a blowout win Sunday.
"Having Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb back there at safety, back there being the quarterbacks, it's totally different," reserve defensive back Anthony Levine Sr. said. "Them boys back there, they are calling things out for us. Zach is making plays, C.J. is making plays. They make things so much easier. When the ball is in the air, we're going for the ball. We're not trying to break it up. We're not trying to just make tackles. We're trying to get the ball for our offense and go score touchdowns."