TERRELL SUGGS: “Let’s not kid ourselves…”

Terrell Suggs Not Kid Ourselves

Who are the 2013 Baltimore Ravens?

Besides the natural response of defending Super Bowl Champions, the next best answer may be, “TBD.”

To Be Determined…

On defense the Ravens have talent that dwarfs that of last season. Of course there’s better depth, vital to enduring the grind of the long season. But a quick look around the starting 11 reveals a rather significant upgrade.

Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and Brandon Williams are substantial improvements over the 2012 rotation that included a starter, one year removed from football and from tipping the scales at 400+, Ma’ake Kemoeatu. Elvis Dumervil is a more accomplished edge rusher than Paul Kruger and the 2013 version of Jimmy Smith is on the rise.

And let’s be honest, Daryl Smith is an upgrade over the 2012 version of Ray Lewis.

The defense is also healthier as defensive coordinator Dean Pees fields 3 Pro Bowl caliber players who were either lost or severely slowed by injury in 2012, namely Lardarius Webb, Haloti Ngata and Terrell Suggs.

This unit just needs a little time to gel.

Offensively many fans are clamoring for a receiver, a tight end and a running game. All are legitimate concerns yet there have been signs of productivity. The Ravens were in control against the Broncos on opening night before a crushing third quarter. Against the Browns if Marlon Brown, Torrey Smith and Justin Tucker make the plays they are supposed to, you are looking at another 6 to 14 points against a tough, motivated Browns defense.

Like his defensive counterpart, Jim Caldwell and his group needs a little time too.

Assistant coach Juan Castillo’s blocking scheme in the running game isn’t in synch yet. Joe Flacco hasn’t developed the trust and rapport with his receivers, a prerequisite for throwing to a spot. Instead, Flacco needs to wait for receivers to break open and rely on his arm strength to fit his passes into rapidly closing windows.

It will take some time. It’s a work in progress but while they are building and reaching towards synchronicity, ugly wins aren’t so bad.

This week’s game against the Houston Texans will be quite a challenge for the Ravens. Last year the JJ Watt & Co. dismantled the Ravens (43-13) and that has influenced NFL Betting Odds which list the Ravens as 2 to 2 ½ point home underdogs – not exactly the norm for defending champions.

Yet the line is understandable.

Even if the Ravens lose (that’s what I suspect will happen), all isn’t lost if they make positive strides against a quality opponent.

It’s all about improvement while managing the season, remaining in the mix and then punching their ticket to the postseason dance.

Success in the NFL isn’t about who is the best team in September. It’s all about embracing the grind and steady improvement. It’s all about being the best during the playoffs.

We have witnessed it with other teams and we lived it last season. There will be puddles and mud along the journey’s road. And there will be failures. But with the proper focus and attention to the little things that make a big difference, there’s no reason the Ravens can’t be there in the end. They have the talent and there really isn’t a dominant team in the conference, regardless of what ESPN says about their flavor of the week.

Perhaps Terrell Suggs said it best as he cautioned the team following the win over the Browns.

“Let’s not kid ourselves…we’ve got some work to do.”

To be continued…

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About Tony Lombardi

Tony Lombardi
Tony is 24x7 Networks, LLC's founder (the parent of EutawStreetReport.com and RussellStreetReport.com) His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan. A diehard Fab Four fan, Tony is a frustrated musician who thinks beating on the steering wheel is akin...more

17 Raves on “TERRELL SUGGS: “Let’s not kid ourselves…”

  1. ravensterpsarmy on said:

    Agreed! There is plenty of work to do as this is a rebuild, not reload, while trying to remain competitive! Instead of the new motto, “Here We Are”, Harb’s could have gone with, “Hammer and Nails”, ‘Embrace the Grind” (last year’s unofficial IMHO), or returned to “Play Like a Raven” or “Relentess” (so all the new players can get with the program mentally and emotionally). Suggs comment can serve as the unofficial motto this year because what we see is what it is – we are’t there yet by any stretch! Good commentary today! Thx!

  2. Rumor Ray on said:

    I agree TL .. work in process still. However I see only improvement in the future. After the Texans game this week will should have a better gauge of the team. Good news is the team knows they need to improve and they believe they can! That is a plus

  3. Phil From Frostburg on said:

    Love the pass rush, but the big problem on defense is the inside linebackers and safeties can’t cover. There are too many big plays over the middle. Lets hope it’s a communication issue and not talent. On offense, the starting OL is good, but the depth is terrible. One injury will be a huge impact. At WR, I think the front office finally realizes the folly of how they handled Boldin. It’s funny how all the media pundits rationalizing that trade have disappeared.

    • Dwayne Talkington on said:

      I haven’t seen anyone disappear as far as those who rationalized the Boldin trade. The defense would not be here if Boldin was. Also last week every Raven that caught a ball besides Pierce actually had a better game than Boldin. Brown is going to suprise people and in the end become more valuable I think than Boldin because he has more ability to take the ball home once he catches it. Combining Brown, Stokley, Smith and Thompson you have a lot of ability to move the chains. If by chance Doss gets in the mix and actually preforms to his expectations you are talking bonus. People blow the whole Boldin think up way too much. Boldin was and is a great player but the talent is here to survive without him and maybe even do better without him. Flacco needs to develop the ability to move the ball around and these players have the skills to accomplish this if they all can just get on the same page. If the running game can add a little more to this mix it will be unstoppable.

      Elam started his first NFL game last week at Safety, the Browns did not score a TD. They only had one big play in the middle in each half and even those plays were stopped without a score and were both clearly communication problems. Matt Elam will get better as the season moves forward and the middle will get shutdown. Coverage feeds the pass rush and the pass rush shortens the window on required coverage. They work hand and hand and if things continue to progress this defense will become one of the most feared in the NFL. It all depends on Elam’s development and Smith being consistent. Also the more time the offense can stay on the field to help keep the defense fresh would help tremendously but that is an obvious.

  4. won hunglow on said:

    I hope the Ravens destroy Texas,but the truth of the matter is they will get beat at home Sunday, but hey I’ll take the super bowl win and a sub par team for a year or two.

    • Jimmy Dundalk on said:

      Agree , they most likely will be three and four at the bye week , but throw in a super bowl win and it seems to be OK , or is it just us two who think this way……………

  5. richieG on said:

    Hey TL,
    I agree with your philosophy of letting the pot simmer until, voila’…the aroma is making me hungry. HOWEVER, I see no ray of hope at TE – the media has been harping on the lack of production at TE, leading me to believe some of that is coming from the “brass”. SOOOO, are they thinking of promoting DrewF (and throwing to him); if not, WHY not/what’s so deficient about his ability??? Why are they not even trying the Harvard guy – they were so thrilled with his versatility on draft day?
    RichieG in Dallas

    • JerryB on said:

      If they are content to go through the season with this inept complement of TE’s, they may not make the playoffs this year despite being in a weak division! I, too, would like to see Matt Furstenburg at TE together with the Harvard rookie with the reputation for “great hands”, which this team desperately needs! Don’t always agree with my “bud” from “Big D”, but couldn’t agree more here…….

  6. Doni609 on said:

    Sluggs is a bonehead and the only thing that will make the ‘Crows’ competitive this year is the total disarray of the AFC North. The Bungles will win the division going away and the Ravens won’t even present a challenge for an AFC Wild Card berth. The $110 million dollar man down there in the crow’s nest looks like he should be back at Delaware for some remedial QB coaching. Of course any QB with a snap count that sounds more like a ‘hog-call’ won’t make it long term. A ‘flamer’ for sure!

    • Sean Crump on said:

      Only a Steelers fan would disguise as a ravens fan just to go on the site and talk ish. They always write weird, usually dorky and hickish or something. O well…what else can they do? It’s not like they have anything cool to talk about on their own sites when they start off 0-2 LOL idiots

    • Jimmy Dundalk on said:

      Joe is fine , just wait until his targets come back,,,,,,,,,,,,,,the O-line is also getting used to a new coaching concept,,,,not many q-backs look good without any tight ends in this league , the offense still has to develop a bit , it’s not Joe’s fault they are suffering a little we are lucky to have him here , by the way did you not see last years playoff run engineered by Joe , it was a work of art………………….

  7. JPinFL on said:

    It’s clear that the Ravens are not playing good, consistent ball. They have yet to put together 4 solid quarters. This will happen, although when is the question.
    I have watched both of Houston’s games this year. They could very easily be 0-2 instead of 2-0. The NFL admitted a blown call in the Chargers game which allowed a touchdown instead of the field goal – the difference in that game, IIRC. In the game against the Titans, Houston did not look great. Watt played well. However, the OL of Houston was suspect and Schuab was sacked/hurried often. There was a blown call in that game as well, when Houston was awarded a safety when it should not have been. That call being made correctly probably prevents the game from going into OT and gives a win to Tenn. Even at the latter end of last year, Houston looked pretty bad, needing OT to beat the Jags (in Houston, no less) and again to beat Detroit the following week. They lost 3 of the final 4 of the regular season.
    I think Houston is a suspect team. If the Ravens play as well as they did in the second half of last week, they should be able to keep this game close and perhaps come out with a close victory. Like Tony said, what is most important is seeing the progression of the team – both offensively and defensively. A win sure would be nice, but seeing significant forward progress is even better at this point of the season.

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