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When asked by reporters if he got offended when outsiders suggested Shawne Merriman could help with the Ravens pass rush, Terrell Suggs simply replied, “no.”
“It really doesn’t bother me too much,” Suggs said. “I know the attention to details, and I know the knack, the want to, to get to the quarterback. It’s there; we just haven’t really cashed them in.
“Trust me: All of [the quarterbacks], they feel us. They just know they’ve got to get that ball out.”
Dolphins LT Jake Long
Suggs said that’s the main key behind the Ravens’ lack of sacks. The pressure has been there, but to notch sacks, his defensive unit needs to make contact with the quarterback sooner.
Teams such as the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore’s Week 7 opponent, are making an effort to get rid of the football fast, which cuts down on the time from point A to point B.
“With Buffalo, we hit him a ton, but the ball was just out. If they throw it, there’s not much you can do,” outside linebacker Jarret Johnson explained.
“We just have to get there faster. I think if we keep doing what we’re doing, keep rushing and blitzing, they’ll come in bunches. We need some, though.”
While they are content with the pressure on opposing signal callers, neither Suggs nor Johnson are satisfied with the number of sacks.
A Baltimore team with a rich history of accumulating sacks is currently 24th in the NFL with only 12. Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata leads the team with four, Suggs (3 ½) and fellow outside linebacker Jarret Johnson (1/2) know they must reach the passer more often.
“I need one bad,” Johnson said with a laugh. “I’m dying. I’ll take anything!”
Added Suggs, “Sacks count as the stat. The pressure, it’s like, ‘Atta boy! Way to pressure the quarterback.’ But the sacks are what help you win the game. Pressure really doesn’t. I mean, they do their job, they have their benefits – they can [force] a quarterback to throw the ball higher or before he wants to.
“But me, being the No. 1 thing that I like to do, I like to get the sack, and I’ll leave all the pressure to Haloti and [Johnson].”
The quest doesn’t get any easier this weekend with the Miami Dolphins, who have a talented duo of offensive tackles in two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jake Long and Vernon Carey on the right side. According to Defensive Coordinator Greg Mattison, the Ravens can expect Miami to show a lot of seven-man protections, as well.
“They’ve got two really good tackles,” said Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh. “Vernon Carey on the right side is a big, physical, flat-back, coming-off-the-ball kind of guy. And obviously, Jake Long is one of the premier tackles in the National Football League. I think their offensive line is the strength of their offense, for sure.”