Sports Talk Live: Ravens, Redskins relying on rookie defensive backs
Question No. 3
Will the Ravens have a stronger pass rush in 2013?
Answer: They should sack quarterbacks more often, with the addition of Elvis Dumervil and a healthy Terrell Suggs.
The Ravens had 37 sacks last season, tied for 15th in the NFL. That was down from 2011, when the Ravens had 48 sacks, tied for third best in the league.
The Ravens will face some of the league’s best quarterbacks – Peyton Manning of the Broncos in Week 1, Aaron Rodgers of the Packers in Week 6, Ben Roethlisberger of the Steelers in Weeks 7 and 13, and Tom Brady of the Patriots in Week 16. Getting consistent pressure against those quarterbacks, and all quarterbacks, will be crucial for the Ravens’ defense.
Suggs was never 100 percent in 2012, after missing part of the season with an Achilles injury. But Suggs looked terrific during minicamps, and the Ravens hope he will return to 2011 form, when Suggs had 14 sacks and was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Playing opposite each other at outside linebacker should help both Dumervil and Suggs. While with the Broncos, Dumervil had 36 ½ sacks over the last three seasons, and he defends the run well enough to be an every-down linebacker. The Ravens expect Dumervil to negate the loss of Paul Kruger to the Browns in free agency. Kruger led the Ravens in 2012 with nine sacks.
Another addition who may help the pass rush is rookie linebacker John Simon from Ohio St., who had nine sacks for the Buckeyes last season. The Ravens also have high hopes for rookie defensive tackle Brandon Williams, who may help star tackle Haloti Ngata create more havoc up the middle.
However, Suggs and Dumervil hold the keys to the pass rush. If they both remain healthy, the Ravens have legitimate reason to expect their pass rush to improve.