Terrell Suggs isn’t happy about the way the Ravens 2013 season played out.
“When we all left, we all felt like we all kind of let each other down,” Suggs commented when asked about last season’s disappointment.
“It was definitely a rude awakening. It sucks. It sucks. You just have to watch teams compete and teams that you played get the opportunity to win a championship. It sucks, and it’s definitely something we don’t want to feel again.”
The Ravens spent much of the offseason after the 2012 season upgrading their defense because it appeared to be the team’s weaker side of the ball during the Super Bowl run.
Free agent signings and draft picks in the 2013 offseason were focused on improving the defense, not just for last season but beyond.
Elvis Dumervil was brought in to take some of the pressure off of Suggs in attacking opposing quarterbacks. Free agent signings of Chris Canty and Marcus Spears were meant to address the struggles of stopping the run, and the addition of Michael Huff was meant to fill the void left by the departure of Ed Reed at the free safety position.
Simply put, Huff failed as a Raven and so did Spears. Canty was quiet along the defensive front, and the play of Suggs and Dumervil drastically decreased during the second half of the season.
As a chiseled Suggs spoke to the media on Wednesday, his focus was not so much on the past but rather on the future of the Dean Pees led defense.
He was also focused on John Harbaugh’s words about the need for the Ravens defense to be more aggressive.
“The coaches take the longest [and hardest] look at the team like, ‘All right, this is what we’re doing; this is what we need to do better.’ So if the coach said it, that’s probably what it is,” the veteran linebacker stated.
“I trust John [Harbaugh], definitely. When we’re in the heat of the moment, we’ve gotten accustomed to and we’ve been playing a certain defense, a certain style, for so long, then maybe we may start to do some of those things-reacting too much to personnel groups or personnel-and let’s just get back to the basics.
“We forget sometimes that [teams] have to stop us. We’ve always been a very fast and violent defense, and we need to get back to that.”
Perhaps the fastest group of Ravens defenders the organization has had in several years, the Ravens defense can be described as a mixture of experience coupled with youth, especially at linebacker.
One such player Suggs is estatic to see perform this season is fellow linebacker Courtney Upshaw. Upshaw, entering his third year in the NFL, has battled weight issues the last two offseasons.
“I like Courtney’s toughness. He fits the Ravens persona. I like his physicality,” Suggs stated about the former Alabama standout.
“I just love the way the kid plays. Anytime you have guys like that on your front line, obviously you have a very good defense, and I love a lot about Courtney,too.”
“He’s one one those guys who speaks softly, but carries-a-big-stick type of guy. He doesn’t do too much talking , but his play speaks volumes.”
Suggs has also been impressed in the short time that he was on the field with rookie first-round draft pick C.J. Mosley.
“[He's] very lean, very quick. Just from the little bit I caught in minicamp, he can catch on really fast,” Suggs bellowed about the youngster.
“His attention to detail is very intriguing. It took me two years, three years, to finally feel like I got the grasp of NFL Football, and it looks like C.J. is not going to have a problem with that.”
The defense has been fast throughout the offseason activities along with minicamp and fans should see it soon enough as training camp heats up.
Harbaugh’s motto of “All In” certainly appeases Suggs. The former Defensive Player of the Year understands the mission of 2014.
“We know what our mission is, we know our goals and we’re here to achieve. Some great things, excuse me, so we just have to all buy in.”
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