5 Reasons Why The Baltimore Ravens Should Be Patient With Terrell Suggs
Patience With T-Sizzle
There has been a feeling of uncertainty for the first time in quite awhile for the Baltimore Ravens' defense with the recent rash of injuries. Ray Lewis ' torn right triceps and Lardarius Webb's torn ACL have put a huge damper on the Ravens as a Super Bowl favorite. Haloti Ngata's knee and back tweaks are also reason for major concern as more than half the season still remains. Ed Reed isn't listed on the injury report, but has stated that he has a torn labrum. The Ravens once-vaunted defense now ranks 26th in the league, allowing just under 400 yards-per-game. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees and the defense will now have to figure out how to fix the major defensive flaws without Webb and Lewis. The news gets even worse as the Ravens defense must go on the road this Sunday and tangle with Arian Foster and the Houston Texans. The Ravens have been gashed for over 200 yards rushing in both of their previous two games and now must try to stop Foster and the Texans' sixth-ranked running game. That feeling of uncertainty has led to the notion of bringing back the reigning NFL defensive player of the year Terrell Suggs. Suggs has missed the whole season thus far as he recovers from his Achilles tendon injury he sustained playing basketball in the off-season. Suggs traveled with the team to Houston for this Sunday's game, but first must be removed from the PUP list. Suggs must be removed from the PUP list by 4 p.m. EST on Saturday to be eligible to play against the Texans. Here are five reasons why T-Sizzle should remain on the PUP list for one more week and not play this Sunday.
Admittedly, the outcome of this game could determine home-field advantage way down the road in the playoffs. Otherwise, both teams come into this game feeling great about their playoff chances. The Ravens and Texans are the only two teams over .500 in the entire conference. Being at least two games up on most teams in the muddled AFC bodes well for the Ravens, as they will have the ability to control their own fate. As of now the Ravens have an 85 percent chance of making the playoffs, and they have two very favorable match-ups after their bye week. With one of the best records in the league and ability to control their own fate, the Ravens have no reason to rush Suggs back.
The game this Sunday against the Texans is a tough match-up for the Ravens, but after this game, the treading gets much easier. A major reason why the Ravens should keep Suggs on the PUP list is that they have a bye next week. By not rushing Suggs back this weekend in a knee-jerk reaction to the Webb and Lewis injuries, T-Sizzle would get two more full weeks of recovery and practice before getting his season debut. After the bye week, the Ravens travel to Cleveland to take on the one-win Browns, then host the mediocre-at-best Oakland Raiders. Those two games sound like a pretty cushy landing spot for Suggs as he gets his first game action since last season. By getting more time to recover and then being able to round into playing shape against two inferior opponents, the Ravens can set Suggs up to succeed down the stretch as he can hopefully be the catalyst for the defense to improve to their normal ranks. The combined record of the Ravens’ remaining opponents is a mere 22-29, so the lack of a daunting schedule gives the Ravens more flexibility.
Last season three of the four teams from the AFC North made the playoffs. This year it remains to be seen if three teams can finish over .500 for the season. The Ravens finally got hit by the injury bug, and it hit hard. However, the Ravens’ biggest threat and rival, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are also dealing with a slew of injuries on both sides of the ball. Troy Polamalu’s calf injury has been a recurring problem, Rashard Mendenhall is hurt yet again, and the offensive line is an ultra-thin unit at this point. The Steelers are .500 and have already dropped games to Oakland and the Tennessee Titans. The Cincinnati Bengals are toiling in mediocrity and the Ravens have already drubbed them once. The Bengals have lost to the likes of the Dolphins and the Browns, so they appear to be a pretender at the moment as well. The Cleveland Browns remain a rebuilding squad that the Ravens have also already beaten and pose no threat to the Ravens. The Ravens still have four division games left and are riding a 10-game winning streak in the AFC North, so they can once again get fat on their own division.
Times have changed for the Ravens in regards to the identity of their team. Even before the injuries to Webb and Lewis, the Ravens have been struggling big time on the defensive side of the ball. Meanwhile, the offense has been in the top-eight all season and has been averaging nearly 27 points-per-game. Joe Flacco is better than most of the quarterbacks in the AFC and Ray Rice remains one of the top dual-threat running backs in the game. Rice has yet to hit his stride this season as well, as his workload thus far has been rather light. The offensive line is coming together and the pass catchers have been adequate as well. With the offense averaging that many points and looking to improve as the season progresses, it gives the Ravens peace of mind that unlike in years past, the defense no longer has to carry the team. For a franchise that has been defined by defense since its inception, the offense is now taking over as the team’s identity.
Suggs Simply Is Not Ready
Suggs has not played a game since January 15th and the recovery time for a torn Achilles tendon is approximately 11 months. That recovery time is the average and may not apply to a freak like Suggs, but coming back roughly six months after such a severe injury seems a little too optimistic. Suggs has seen limited practice time and does not appear to be in football shape. There is little practice footage of Suggs, and the footage that has been circulated has nothing to do with defense. Rather that footage is of T-Sizzle messing around and throwing the football with a couple of teammates. Suggs doesn’t pass the eye test as someone who looks ready to engage with the Texans potent offense. T-Sizzle is a freak, but he can’t be 100 percent yet. The Ravens would be best served to let the dynamic defensive playmaker recuperate two more weeks before the Ravens embark on the second half of their season.
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