A season that started late due to a preseason knee injury, and then didn't launch upon his return, left presumed starting defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan fighting for a role through the first half of the season.
Coach John Harbaugh said it was an issue of effort and consistency that relegated him to a third-down pass rushing role and saw rookie Carl Davis start and play the majority of the snaps in Weeks 4 and 5.
But a few strong games in a row before the bye have Harbaugh confident the 2014 second-round NFL draft pick can, in the second half of the season, be the player the team expected in the absence of traded star Haloti Ngata.
"I think he has really practiced well for the last month, and he has played well. He's consistently better every single week. He's playing with a lot of energy. He's really flying around. We have high expectations for Timmy in the second half of the season."
For a player who showed himself to be an explosive pass rusher as a rookie, with four sacks on the season, including two in a dominant performance against Sunday's opponent, the Jacksonville Jaguars, the fact that Jernigan has at least a half-sack in three of the Ravens' last four games is heartening.
But it's likely the effort Jernigan showed in tracking down wide receiver Keenan Allen for a tackle after a reception 10 yards downfield is what has coaches, including Harbaugh, excited about his effort.
Jernigan wasn't satisfied with his first-half performance, and didn't let the early-season demotion get him too discouraged. He maintains that he used it as motivation.
"I feel good with where I'm at, but you never want to get comfortable because at the end of the day, there's always someone working just like you're working," Jernigan said. "That's something I realized, and I realized fast. You never want to be comfortable with where you're at, and how can I ever feel satisfied with where I'm at when our record is what it is?
"The biggest thing for us is we finally got our feet up under us, got our bodies back, and we feel like we've got to come back and win. That's the only thing that's on my mind. If we take it week by week, we know we can get it done."