The Baltimore Ravens will be without their unquestioned leader on defense for the remainder of the season as outside linebacker Terrell Suggs suffered a torn Achilles’ tendon in Sunday’s 19-13 loss at the Denver Broncos.
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This is the second time that Suggs has torn his Achilles in the past 40 months. He tore his left Achilles in the spring of 2012, and injured the right in the fourth quarter Sunday. Suggs walked off the field under his own power, but was eventually carted to the locker room and that’s when you knew the news was not going to be good.
It’s a serious blow to the defense and Ravens as a whole as Suggs is the franchise leader in sacks and the face of the Ravens defense that has been one of the best in the past decade.
Suggs is everything that Baltimore defense is about. He plays hard. He plays fast. He plays nasty. He is versatile enough to get a sack on one play and then pick off a pass on another. He is also a vocal leader who has no problem saying what people really want to hear and not the sugarcoated answers we sometimes expect from professional athletes.
Suggs’ name wasn’t called much in the loss at Denver, but the entire defense played very well as group, holding Peyton Manning and the Broncos to no offensive possessions. The problem in the game was the Broncos defense held the Ravens offenses scoreless as well.
Lawrence Guy took over for Suggs, but asking him to be the same kind of player that Suggs is cannot be done. A large part of why Elvis Dumervil racked up 17 sacks last season is because of the attention Suggs garners. Suggs demands a lot of double teams and he still accumulated 12 sacks of his own last season. When opposing teams gameplab for the Ravens D, the first person they key on is eliminating the Suggs effect. Now the pressure is on Dumervil and the young talent on the roster to step up.
Suggs has 106.5 career sacks, which is 36 more than any other Ravens player, and the sixth-most sacks among active players. It’s damn near impossible to replace the former Defensive Player of the Year, but Suggs is confident that his team will carry on as planned.
Fourth-round pick Za’Darius Smith is listed as the backup to Suggs, but was a healthy inactive on Sunday.
Could Baltimore look outside of the organization for a replacement? That’s certainly possible. A name that has already surfaced as a possible replacement is longtime Indianapolis Colt Dwight Freeney.
The Ravens Super Bowl hopes took a big dive yesterday with the injury. The defense was phenomenal on Sunday, but it will be a tough task to maintain that level of play with their leader on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.
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