Thursday, December 19, 2013
Suggs offers his take on sack-less streak
By Jamison Hensley
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs looked like a candidate for NFL defensive player of the year when he recorded nine sacks in his first eight games. Then came the drought.
Suggs hasn't had a sack in six games. The last time he dropped a quarterback for a loss was Nov. 3, when he sacked Jason Campbell on the first play from scrimmage.
Terrell Suggs had nine sacks through eight games this season. But he's been shut out since then.
This matches Suggs' longest sack drought. He went six games without a sack in 2006.
But, even though he is obviously frustrated by the lack of sacks, Suggs refuses to sulk about it.
"I think about it a lot, but in those six games we’re 5-1," Suggs said. "It’s definitely in the back of my mind, but I can’t let that be my number-one focus. As long as we’re winning, I’ll accept that. It’s bittersweet. We’re 5-1. Right now we’re in the playoffs if we win out. If we handle our business, we’ll be in the playoffs. The postseason is more important than statistics. Even though I do want them, I’m still out there working, chasing and getting after them. That’s all I can do -- continue to work.”
Privately, Suggs would like nothing better than to end this sack-less streak against Tom Brady. He's had several memorable verbal sparring matches with the Patriots quarterback over the years.
Brady was asked -- jokingly -- on Wednesday if he's already sent his Christmas card to Suggs' home in Baltimore.
Suggs, who once called Brady "the pretty boy from up north," went out of his way not to take a jab at Brady, although he still refuses to say Brady's name.
"Let’s not kid ourselves; he’s a fierce competitor," Suggs said. "Then again, we don’t shy away from anybody. It’s a championship for both of us -- you can expect that. Both teams will have at it come Sunday.”
The Ravens need Suggs to raise his game, and this goes beyond getting to the quarterback. He didn't record a tackle on Monday night, only the second time that has happened since his rookie season in 2003. The reason the Lions scored their first touchdown -- a 14-yard run by Reggie Bush -- was because Suggs didn't set the edge.
Suggs isn't on the injury report, and he said he doesn't feel banged up. But Suggs played only 72 percent of the Ravens' defensive snaps on Monday, his lowest participation of the season. He was on the sideline for 18 plays.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh believes Suggs is still making an impact in games, and it shows by how teams plan for him.
"Every team is going to look at Terrell Suggs, and they're going to do everything they can to make sure that he doesn't destroy their passing game, because he's capable of doing that," Harbaugh said. "I'm sure the Patriots will look at him the same way."