Has the absence of Terrell Suggs during the first two OTAs this offseason affected the Ravens in the grand scheme of things in preparing for 2014?
Not likely, but it has certainly been noted.
Much ado has been made over the last two seasons about the team’s lack of leadership since the departure of Ray Lewis. Although voluntary, OTAs are a good time to acclimate yourself with new teammates and get back into a football frame of mind.
The Baltimore Ravens were well aware of the type of player Terrell Suggs is when they inked the veteran outside linebacker to a four-year, $28.5 million contract extension in February.
Since entering the league in 2003, Suggs has wreaked havoc on opposing quarterbacks and his fiery nature on the field has captured the hearts of both fans and media.
2013 was an up and down season for the 2011 Defensive Player of the Year. He recorded a team high 10 sacks including three in one game (Miami), however posted just one sack after week eight. His 80 tackles (47 solo) were third on the team behind Daryl Smith and James Ihedigbo.
It was clear that the six-time Pro Bowler struggled as the season went on. Whether it was injury related, a conditioning problem, or just that opposing coordinators found a way to combat the fierce pass rusher, something wasn’t right.
“I’ve been taking a few looks at it,” Suggs explained back in February. “I have a few guesses, but I haven’t really pinpointed one reason or another. The sacks kind of went down, but one thing did happen – we did start winning a lot.
“I think if I can just say one thing, it’s just to narrow my work back down, you know what I mean? Don’t try to do so much of everybody else’s job. Let the coverage be itself, play the play, trust the play that’s being called and just be Sizzle.
“So, I think I was probably down the stretch trying to do too much. As one game went by, as two games went by, it was just like, ‘Alright, I need to get a sack. I need to get a sack,’ and I stopped letting the game come to me. Just looking at it from off the top of my head, I would say that, but I’m definitely going to take a firmer look at it in the weeks coming ahead.”
Suggs did report to training camp in phenomenal shape in 2013 and will be expected to do the same this year. After all, the veteran linebacker will be just 31 years old as he enters into his 12th NFL season.
After signing his extension that basically made him a Raven for life, Suggs has the perfect opportunity to be that leader on defense.
The question is, will he seize it?
So far, it’s not looking good, as neither the organization nor fans can be happy that he’s been a no-show even if it’s voluntary.
So, at the risk of being labeled a “hater” ask yourself this question…
Would you be okay with Joe Flacco if he opted to skip OTA’s?