Baltimore Ravens: Linebackers Seek to Continue Success


Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs (55) looks to improve upon the 12 sacks he had in 2014. He enters his 13th NFL season at 32 years old.  Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens’ linebackers are one of the few parts of the team not undergoing many changes. Pernell McPhee went to the Chicago Bears during the offseason, but Za’Darius Smith was drafted and should act as his backup.

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Courtney Upshaw, Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs return for the outside linebacker with Smith joining the force. The returning trio combined for 140 total tackles and 29 sacks last season.

On the other side, C.J. Mosley, Albert McClellan, Daryl Smith and Zachary Orr return. They combined for 283 total tackles and four sacks last year. The major contributors were Mosley and Smith who both had superb years.

The linebackers have not made much of a change, very similar to the offensive line. This continuity means they can build off last year, which maintained an excellent run defense, which ranked fourth in the NFL allowing 88.2 rushing yards per game.

Suggs has admitted to treating this offseason differently as he enters his 13th NFL season. He does not focus too much on the personal goals, but he wants to do better than last year. In 2013, he had 10 sacks and last year, he had 12.

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Despite being 32-years-old, he is progressively getting better since 2012 when he only played half the regular season. With the same linebackers around him, I expect Suggs to improve once again in 2015. After attending minicamp not in his normal shape, he does have to catch up before training camp, so he’s physically ready.

Dumervil had one of his best seasons last year with 17 sacks, and alongside Suggs, he is on track for another stellar year. As he said in the first press conference of minicamp, he looks at the season the same as his teammate. He wants to win games first, and then look at personal goals.

With both approaching the season the same, I expect them to repeat as the best pass-rushing duo in the NFL.

However, the expectations for Mosley need to be high to avoid the sophomore slump. He had a great rookie year and alongside the veteran Smith, he’s set to do it again this upcoming year.

Mosley seeks to avoid a sophomore slump after an impressive rookie season.

His training camp, as well as this off period, is going to be crucial time as he tries to improve upon last season. A lot of eyes are going to be watching him as he hits the practice field in July.

The entire linebacker corps can use this time to bring their play to the next level. With the secondary bent on improving upon last year, the defense as a whole is in the perfect scenario to revive a Baltimore team to be feared for every aspect of their defense.

As Suggs would say, the first goal for the defense is to win games. After that, the individual players can begin to see what personal goals they can accomplish.