Pernell McPhee first broke into the league with the Baltimore Ravens before cashing in on a strong effort during free agency. He found his way back to where he started out last season after Baltimore suffered multiple exits at the outside linebacker position in free agency, and they recently re-signed him to return for another year.
And he has one clear goal in mind. “I’ve just come back to win this championship”, he told the team’s website. “That’s all I want to do”.
Speaking about their premature playoff exit last year following a 14-2 regular season, he said that he feels that they lost for a reason, and that it’s going to “light a fire under a lot of guys”, adding that if it doesn’t, “they don’t need to be on the team”.
The Ravens posted their best regular-season record in franchise history last season, winning their final 12 games, which was also the longest winning streak in team history. They looked unbeatable, and were regularly able to pull starters by the end of the game.
Then they got steamrolled by Derrick Henry and company in the playoffs. So Baltimore responded with a rebuilt front line. Michael Pierce was allowed to walk. They drafted for Calais Campbell, and then signed Derek Wolfe (after previously failing to cement a deal with Michael Brockers, admittedly).
McPhee admitted that the Ravens were the only team that showed interest in him in free agency. “I asked my agent to reach out to other teams”, he said. “Nobody, of course; didn’t want me. It’s cool though. It lit something”.
“There’s going to be a time when I catch whoever I catch”, he said, referring to his quest to show those who weren’t interested in him—even if he would have re-signed with the Ravens anyway—made a mistake. “I guess it’s going to be the Cincinnati Bengals. Snatch one of their souls out their chest – in a good way”.
He knows it’s about the team, though, and that a lot of what they felt they didn’t do well enough last season was addressed in the offseason, particularly in the front seven, not just with the new linemen, but also with the drafting of Patrick Queen at linebacker.
“I thought that was going to be our year. I thought we were going to go win it all”, he said of 2019. But now he has the same feeling about this year. “With the addition of Wolfe and big boy, Campbell, it’s going to be scary. I’m fired up about all the additions. I can’t lie about that”.
It’s hard to imagine that the Ravens won’t still be a good team in 2020 based on the talent that they have. That doesn’t mean they’ll have the same amount of success. The quarterbacks they’ll face in the division will be better this year, for one thing.