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Will the Ravens be able to make up for the loss of Terrell Suggs?
ProFootballFocus.com, which charts every single play during the NFL season, took an in-depth look at Suggs’ impact and last year’s numbers fromthose who could step in for him.
Whatthe website found is encouraging.
Baltimore has several young players to offset the loss, particularly in the pass rush department.
The reigning Defensive Player of the Year led the Ravens with 14 sacks, 12 quarterback hits and 37 pressures in 598 snaps last season.
In 375 fewer snaps, outside linebacker Paul Kruger and defensive end Pernell McPhee logged a combined 49 quarterback hits and pressures. That’s the exact same amount of hits and pressure as Suggs.
There are many factors that will affect that number next season.
McPhee and Kruger are in position to see more snaps, and thus should have better numbers. But they were also used as pass-rush specialists last season, which mean they were fresh to get after the quarterback.
If they move into more of a starting role, fatigue could be a factor. Also, Suggs drew double teams away from Kruger and McPhee.
Still, both young pass rushers could have breakoutcampaigns.
McPhee was one of the top interior pass rushers in the NFL last season. The rookie had seven sacks, six hits and 20 pressures. No interior lineman with more than 100 snaps applied pressure as often as McPhee. Only 14 interior rushers had as much total pressure (sacks, knockdowns and hurries) than McPhee in only 278 snaps.
In his first season seeing extended playing time, Kruger registered 5.5 sacks, four hits and 15 quarterback pressures. Of the defensive ends with at least 250 rushes, Kruger ranked 20th in production.
The other main contributor will be second-round pick Courtney Upshaw, who had 9.5 sacks last season and seven the year before.
Upshaw is built like Suggs, but the rookie will have to learn the ropes of the NFL. Suggs notched 12 sacks as a rookie in 2003 on his way to AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Where Baltimore may be more hard pressed to find help with Suggs out is in run defense. While sacks often got Suggs attention, his ability to set the edge and stuff opposing rushers was often underappreciated.
The Ravens lost two of their other top run-stuffers, defensive end Cory Redding and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson, as well.
Baltimore has made some moves to try to help in that area, signing defensive tackles Maake Kemoeatu and Ryan McBean both in the past week. Upshaw is also known for being physical against offensive lines.