Friday, August 2, 2013
Ravens LB Suggs on track for bounce-back season
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs is healthy, in excellent shape and ready to rebound from an injury-marred 2012 season.
The Achilles tendon injury last year that sidelined Suggs until Oct. 21 and limited his effectiveness upon his return is no longer a problem.
His explosiveness appears to be back. So is the overall mobility he lacked last year. And Suggs just might be in the best shape of his 11-year NFL career.
It's still just a week into training camp, but teammates and coaches see a Suggs poised to re-establish himself as one of the league's premier defensive players as Baltimore prepares defense of its Super Bowl title.
"I think when he walks through the doorway you can see that there's a change," Baltimore linebackers coach Ted Monachino said. "The beauty of it is that he's been able to change his body but not necessarily his body weight. I think he looks great and he feels great. . He feels fast, he feels flexible and he feels strong. And if he can feel that way for a long time, he's going to have another great year."
Suggs is the Ravens' all-time sacks leader, a five-time Pro Bowler and was the 2011 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. But he clearly wasn't himself last year.
Suggs made an unexpectedly fast recovery after tearing his Achilles last spring, but he was clearly limited by the injury for the duration of the year. He also dealt with a torn biceps late in the season.
And so, just a year after posting an AFC-best 14 sacks, Suggs had just 22 tackles and two sacks in eight regular season games.
But he started to show flashes of his old form in the playoffs and showed up to minicamp in great shape last month. This summer, he has been arguably the Ravens' most impressive player through the first week of training camp.
"Feeling good," Suggs said. "Achilles feels good. Biceps feels good. I'm 100 percent. You come out here. You report for camp. You don't have any nicks, any bruises. You don't have to sit out. You can't ask for more than that -- that opportunity to go to work. Like I said, I'm just blessed that I am 100 percent right now and I do get to go to work."
Pro Bowl defensive lineman Haloti Ngata raved about how Suggs looked last month, and teammates continue to marvel at Suggs early in training camp.
"Do you all see what Suggs looks like right now? He's all ripped up," Ravens receiver Torrey Smith said. "He worked his tail off this offseason. He's way more explosive than last year. Obviously, he is coming off of an injury, but his bursts are just like they were my rookie year (in 2011) when he was the Defensive Player of the Year."
Suggs is 30 now, and he's coming off of his least productive year as a professional. But, to his teammates and coaches, Suggs once again has the look of one of the NFL's premier defensive players.
"I've always been impressed with Terrell Suggs in so many ways, but I would say this year he has taken it to a whole new level," Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said. "He has emerged. Actions speak louder than words, and what he's done in the offseason speaks for itself.
"You've seen him. He's in phenomenal condition. He practiced as well as you can practice out here at that position. I'm excited, and he's excited."