On Friday, Pittsburgh Steelers RB Najee Harris spoke to the media prior to Sunday’s game at home against the Baltimore Ravens and previewed the AFC North matchup as well as gave reporters an update on the current state of his health.
When Harris was explained to the media how the Ravens emphasize taking the football away on defense, he made sure to mention CB Marlon Humphrey and the threat he brings not only as a coverage defender, but also as an opportunistic tackler who will punch at the football.
“Like I said, going back to what they do best at taking the ball away,” Harris said to the media Friday on video from Steelers.com. “I’m pretty sure that you know Marlon Humphrey’s really good at it. I remember him at Alabama, Coach Saban taught it too, about how you punch at the ball every time. Especially guys like that have the ball, they’re kind of loose with it. So, and obviously seeing Marlon Humphrey do it at this level, I’m pretty sure it’s emphasized over there too with them. So seeing him doing that and everybody else in their defense out punching at the ball, I think it’s important to tell obviously everybody including me, but even the rookies.”
Humphrey has been dominant in man coverage at times this season, shutting down some of the game’s best receivers when in one-on-one coverage. He makes plays all over the field for the Ravens, tallying 50 total stops, three sacks, two fumble recoveries, six PBUs, and three INTs. A physical corner that can go toe-to-toe with a team’s WR1 or come downhill against the run or on a designed blitz, Humphrey is the full package.
However, Najee Harris praised Humphrey’s ability to punch the football out as this era Charles “Peanut Punch” Tillman who had the phrased coined after his famous punch at the football one tackle attempts. Humphrey has done a great job adopting this aspect to his game as the corner has 12 forced fumbles in his six-year NFL career including a whopping eight forced fumbles back in 2020.
Humphrey is one of the most physical CBs in the league, having the size, strength, and athleticism to make an impact in coverage as well as in run support. An effective blitzer off the edge, Najee Harris, George Pickens, and the rest of the Steelers’ skill position players must be mindful of tucking the ball away to prevent Humphrey from knocking the ball out to create turnovers for the Baltimore defense.