Teammates marvel at Suggs' comeback


Teammates marvel at Suggs' comeback

In his first game of the season with the Ravens, linebacker Terrell Suggs played 44 snaps coming off an Achilles tear.

He was projected to be on the field for no more than 20. Suggs' triumphant return, however, was overshadowed by a 43-13 drubbing to the Houston Texans.

Just five minutes in, he had a sack of quarterback Matt Schaub. He helped the Ravens force Houston into consecutive three-plays-and-out possessions to start the game.

"I didn't know that he'd be able to play that many snaps, in all honesty," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "For him to be able to play 44 snaps is really something. I don't know if that has ever been accomplished. To come back from an Achilles tear at that stage of the offseason and to come back this quickly and then to play the way he played it's probably unprecedented."

Fellow linebackers Jameel McClain and Paul Kruger are encouraged by what they saw out of Suggs, too, heading into the bye week. The defense is trying to re-organize and Suggs could be the shot in the arm they need.

"What Terrell Suggs did is amazing. It still baffles me," McClain said. "I said to him, 'For you to be out here after going through what you went through is something that makes you want to fight even more for that respect and for that man.'"

Kruger realized in practice, when Suggs was allowed to participate off the physically-unable-to-perform list less than a week ago, that he'd be ready.

"I knew what he could do because I saw him do it a couple days previous," Kruger said of  "He's a hell of a player, and the way he's worked to get back and get his leg back in shape, it's pretty incredible."

Bisciotti gets his wish with draft class full of pass rushers


Bisciotti gets his wish with draft class full of pass rushers

At the team's "State of the Ravens" end-of-season news conference, owner Steve Bisciotti made no bones about where he thought the Ravens needed to improve in 2016: rushing the passer.

So although Bisciotti didn't speak to the media after the draft, he had to be pleased with the results.

With two of their first three picks, the Ravens selected players who figure to pressure the quarterback -- Boise State linebacker Kamalei Correa and Brigham Young defensive end Bronson Kaufusi.

"They both have pass rush ability," coach John Harbaugh said. "They both get sacks, they are both high-motor players and high-energy pass rushers. These two guys are going to run to the ball. These two guys are going to run to the ball 100 miles an hour every single play. That’s really important on defense.”

The next day, the Ravens added Grand Valley State defensive end Matt Judon -- who had 20 sacks last year -- in the fifth round. Just for good measure, they also reportedly agreed to sign undrafted rookie linebacker Victor Ochi of Stony Brook, who led the Football Championship Subdivision with 13 sacks.

Harbaugh said after the draft that "I don't think it was a secret" that Bisciotti wanted the Ravens to upgrade the pass rush, "and we were able to fill (that need). I’m really fired up about that. I’m really excited about these guys getting to the quarterback.”

Bisciotti said in January that losing Terrell Suggs to a season-ending injury in Week 1 had a "domino effect" that greatly disrupted the defense. Elvis Dumervil was forced into more of a three-down role, and Courtney Upshaw never came close to replacing Suggs' sack numbers. Dumervil dropped from 17 sacks to six, and overall the Ravens dropped from 49 sacks in 2014 to 37 last season.

When the pass rush failed to pressure the quarterback, coverage linebackers or defensive backs were frequently exposed.

"I think I have a true appreciation of what pressure means, and so that’s what I think we need to do," Bisciotti had said in January. "I think we need to focus on our free agency and our draft, and I think we have to have multiple pass rushers in order to let everybody else be effective.”

Suggs turns 34 in October and is coming off his second major Achilles injury. Dumervil is 32. So the need to develop good young pass rushers is obvious. The Ravens hope they took a big step in that direction over the weekend.


Will Ravens' record-setting fourth-round bonanza live up to the hype?


Will Ravens' record-setting fourth-round bonanza live up to the hype?

Will the Ravens’ fourth-round haul live up to the hype?

No team in NFL history had ever made five fourth-round picks, and some felt the Ravens hit on all of them. ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay says, “This might be the best fourth round I’ve ever seen from a team.”

Here’s a closer look at how the five players the Ravens selected in Round 4 could fit in next season:

Tavon Young, CB, Temple (104th overall)

Young will compete for a nickel corner spot as a rookie. Barring injuries, the only certainty about the Ravens secondary is Jimmy Smith starting at one corner and Eric Weddle starting at safety. Young will compete for playing time with Shareece Wright, Kyle Arrington, Will Davis, and others. But if Young plays regularly as a rookie and helps them win games, it’s a steal.

Chris Moore, WR, Cincinnati (107)

Moore has legit deep speed, joining Breshad Perriman and Mike Wallace as receivers that can stretch the field for quarterback Joe Flacco. Think about it, the Ravens didn’t’ have Perriman, Wallace, or Moore on the field last season. If Moore has a strong training camp, the Ravens will find a way to get him some opportunities. Remember the big plays Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones made during the Super Bowl year? The Ravens hope Wallace, Perriman, and Moore provide that kind of impact.

Alex Lewis, OT, Nebraska (130)

If the Ravens part with left tackle Eugene Monroe, Lewis could become the backup at left tackle behind first-round pick Ronnie Stanley. Lewis could also be the backup to right tackle Rick Wagner. Either way, Lewis could be one injury away from playing.

Willie Henry, DT, Michigan (132)

He’s the fourth-rounder with the hardest path to immediate playing time. The Ravens are deep at defensive tackle with Brandon Williams, Timmy Jernigan, and Carl Davis. But if Henry shows he can help as a run stopper, he’ll be part of the defensive line rotation.

Kenneth Dixon, RB, Louisiana Tech (134)

Some thought Dixon was the best pass-catching back in the draft. Justin Forsett will enter camp as the starter, but the Ravens want to keep him fresh. It’s a crowded running back group right now, but Buck Allen and Lorenzo Taliaferro both saw playing time as rookie running backs. Dixon will too, if he shows he’s ready to make plays.


Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Maurice Canady


Three things to know about Ravens sixth-round pick Maurice Canady

This week, I will profile the Ravens’ 11 draft picks with three things you need to know about them. First up is their final pick, cornerback Maurice Canady from Virginia, who went in Round 6 (209).

Three things about Canady:

1. University of Virginia alumni should be particularly proud of himself.

Canady was the only Virginia player drafted this year, and he extended the school’s streak to 33 straight years of having at least one player selected. He continues the Ravens’ recent connection with Virginia players. Left tackle Eugene Monroe, defensive end Brent Urban, and former defensive end Chris Canty all attended Virginia. Canady is a Richmond, Virginia native, so he’s thrilled to stay on the East coast.

2.  Special teams could be Canady’s ticket to making the team.

The Ravens are looking for game-changing punt returners, and Canady returned a punt 74 yards for a touchdown last season.

3. At 6-foot-1, Canady has the height and wingspan NFL teams prefer for cornerbacks.

Canady needs to work on his ball skills – he did not have an interception last season. However, his height is a plus matching up against bigger receivers. Canady had a strong week at the Senior Bowl against elite competition. If he stands out the same way during minicamps and training camp, Canady can carve out a place with the Ravens.