The acquisition of outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil creates questions about how the snaps will be divvied up amongst him, Terrell Suggs and Courtney Upshaw, but the Ravens' coaches will tell you that it's a good problem to have.
Especially when defending in obvious pass situations.
The presence of those three players, along with the addition of defensive linemen Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, will give Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees options when it comes to attacking quarterbacks in third-and-long situations this upcoming season. Needless to say, the pass rush should pack more punch in 2013.
The Ravens finished in the middle of the pack with 37 sacks a season ago. But Suggs missed the first six games with a torn Achilles tendon and was playing with just two good limbs after tearing his triceps. Upshaw was a rookie and was more of a run stopper than a pass rusher. And Paul Kruger, who recently signed a monster deal with the Cleveland Browns, didn't start producing until the season's second half.
Kruger is gone, but the Ravens got a cheaper and potentially more productive replacement in Dumervil, who was a three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher for the Denver Broncos and who led the NFL with 17 sacks in 2009. Dumervil had 47.5 total sacks in his past three seasons -- he did not play in 2010 -- and he teamed up with Von Miller last season to give the Broncos one of the NFL's best outside pass-rusher combinations.
Dumervil will now team with Suggs to give the Ravens one of the NFL's top combos -- Suggs told Mike Preston that he has never played with another pass rusher as good as him -- and those two will spend a lot of time chasing quarterbacks together on third down. But Upshaw might also find his way onto the field.
Upshaw impressed as a run defender in his rookie season and will likely be on the field often on early downs, but the Ravens could potentially use him with Suggs and Dumervil in some sub packages. He showed his versatility last season and even played some defensive tackle against the Oakland Raiders.
Pees has plenty of time to determine how he wants to deploy all the weapons in his arsenal, but it is pretty scary to think about the possibility of the Ravens unloading those three players along with a couple of linemen -- maybe Haloti Ngata and Canty or Pernell McPhee -- in third-and-long situations.
If Suggs and Dumervil -- somebody needs to come up with a clever name for that duo -- live up to the lofty expectations, Upshaw develops as a pass rusher, and the secondary is boosted by the return of cornerback Lardarius Webb and the signing of safety Michael Huff, the Ravens defense should create chaos again.
Yes, I know that is a lot of ifs, but the potential is intriguing.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun