The Ravens have improved on defense since the return of Terrell Suggs a few weeks ago.
In the three games since his return from off-season surgery (Achilles), the defense, which had been inconsistent at best throughout the first half of the season, looks more solid. They've been better against both the run and pass and helped the Ravens win twice. Now, they've beaten two teams that won't be in the playoffs this year in Cleveland and Oakland, but the improvement's there.
"Maybe it does help them the fact that they know that they don’t have to do too much because Terrell is on the field, also the fact that he draws a lot of attention," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said when talking to the media on Monday. "He gets a lot of blocking attention, so that helps other guys who are singled out more than they would have been otherwise."
The attention that Harbaugh said Suggs draws can't hurt the defense. If he's double-teamed, that opens the door for someone else to get a one-on-one match-up and do something. Other teams will be watching Suggs whenever he's on the field.
He's the NFL Defensive Player of the Year from 2011, and even if Suggs isn't completely back to 100 percent of last year's form, he's still dangerous.
"His presence is felt – whether he’s putting up the big production or whether he’s not," Harbaugh said. "He’s a factor out there.”
This Sunday's game with Pittsburgh should also give us a good look at the kinds of ways Suggs can be a factor. The Steelers will certainly have their eyes open for him, especially because the Ravens will really try to put pressure on quarterback Byron Leftwich, the type of QB who won't run around a lot.
Suggs usually seems to find a way to make plays in games like this. That's why he's so valuable.