Lessons Learned: Suggs Package Isn’t Dead

Five Lessons Learned from Sunday’s 31-7 win against the Chicago Bears.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Sunday, December 20th, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Categories: 2009 Gameday, Sarah Ellison

Suggs Package Isn’t Dead

I didn’t think the Suggs package would be back this season. With Joe Flacco entering his second year and more in control of the offense, the Ravens weren’t desperate to dig into the bag of tricks that feature quarterback Troy Smith under center.  But turns out, the package isn’t dead.  In fact, it was re-introduced on a day when Flacco looked flawless and posted a personal-best four touchdowns and a rating of 135.6. So, why was the Suggs package pulled out today?

“Sometimes you play a team that’s not quite as familiar with you and we just felt the timing was right,” Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “Especially, we struggled a little bit in the scoring zone, we turned the ball over a little bit down there. We felt this was the time to mix it in a little bit.”

Todd Heap and Demetrius Williams stepped up when the receiving corps needed it most.

With Mark Clayton and Kelley Washington sidelined due to injury, the offense needed somebody other than Derrick Mason to step up and provide Flacco with options. Heap not only filled the void, but he had his best receiving game of the season with five catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns.

Williams provided a deep threat and snatched a deep ball in the end zone when he was sandwiched between two Bears defenders. The 6-2, 197-pound receiver looked outstanding. Williams finished the night with four catches for 71 yards.

The stars are aligning, but the Ravens aren’t leaving the season up to luck.

In Week 15, everything went right for the Baltimore Ravens. They needed New England to win and the Jaguars, Dolphins and Jets to lose. Check. Check. Check…aaaaannnd check. Want a little icing on the cake? The Broncos lost too. They’re now 8-6, and the Ravens (8-6) own the tiebreaker. All of a sudden,  Baltimore is seeded No. 5 in the AFC. Even the Bengals (9-5) lost. The AFC North title is not locked up.

But, the Ravens didn’t rely on anyone’s charity. They just kept their head down and went straight to work. For the second week in a row they laid a sound beating on an NFC North opponent. Pittsburgh put up a heck of a fight against Green Bay at home and won in the final seconds, so the Ravens will need to bring more of that nasty, blue-collar mentality next week to Heinz Field.

Losing Lardarius Webb hurts.

Head coach John Harbaugh said he is “not optimistic” about Webb’s return this season. With a December run on the line, and possibly a post-season run, the Ravens will be without their original starter Fabian Washington and now his backup too. Webb has been nothing short of sensational and will be a tough man to replace. The next man up must absorb the blow. And according to the depth chart, that man will be Frank Walker.

Brian Billick was terrific calling the game as the Fox commentator.

I remember having to visit dictionary.com after Brian Billick’s press conferences.  It was like a blast from the past because, as the Fox analyst of tonight’s game, Billick once again took me to school (in case you were wondering capitulation means surrender). He even managed to slip in one of his favorite words, prudent, a few times.

In all seriousness, it was fun listening to Billick call the game. He already has excellent wisdom, insight and charm. Combine that with his unique knowledge as the Ravens’ former head coach and he quickly became my favorite commentator of the season. I also noticed that he was extremely complimentary of quarterback Joe Flacco (what commentator wouldn’t be as the Ravens’ quarterback basically put on a clinic).

I’m sure Billick has to be a little envious of the Ravens’ new toy, and I wonder if the “offensive guru” was drawing up a few plays in his head just for fun. Once an NFL offensive coordinator, always an offensive coordinator.

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