11:23 AM EDT, May 3, 2012
Jeff Zrebiec, Ravens reporter: Terrell Suggs is visiting a specialist next week so we won't know the extent of the injury and whether he'll need season-ending surgery until then, but that's obviously the fear. And any sort of Achilles' injury is terrible news for a guy so reliant on his power and explosiveness. It obviously goes without saying that Suggs is one of the few players that the Ravens simply can't replace. He's a rare game-changer and playmaker on defense, a guy that teams account for, often with two players. What a challenge coach John Harbaugh and new defensive coordinator Dean Pees will have trying to figure out a way to consistently get to the quarterback without Suggs in there. Not only does it make the selection of Courtney Upshaw last week critical, but it also makes the Ravens' investment and commitment to their young cornerbacks look even smarter. If Suggs is out for the 2012 campaign, the Ravens will need every single member of that defense to take his game to another level.
Matt Vensel, Ravens reporter: This offseason I wrote about how the Ravens would like a pass rusher to complement Terrell Suggs. Now they might need one to replace him. If it's a season-ending injury -- we don't know that yet -- the pressure will be on Paul Kruger and Courtney Upshaw to pick up the slack. But even if Suggs misses just part of the season and is able to return, this is a major blow to the team's title hopes, especially with so many good quarterbacks on their schedule.
Mike Preston, Ravens columnist: Instead of having rookie Courtney Upshaw challenge Paul Kruger for the strong-side position, the Ravens might have to start Upshaw opposite of Kruger. The Ravens need Sergio Kindle to step up now more than ever.
Chris Korman, reporter/editor: First off, a devastating injury for a jovial, interesting guy. That's tough to see, and while there's going to be some righteous indignation about Terrell Suggs daring to (reportedly) play pickup hoops in the offseason, it's unwarranted. It's perfectly natural for him to use basketball as part of his training. He could have just as easily suffered the same injury doing plyometrics work. Without Suggs, the Ravens' defense will be much more static. Suggs was a big-game, big-play leader. The Ravens play at a different -- championship -- level when Suggs is on (think Pittsburgh.) And certainly they'll miss that. But they also have nobody to even come close to holding Suggs' place on the line. The pressure on second-round pick Courtney Upshaw just increased 100 fold, and new defensive coordinator Dean Pees -- who has been in that spot before -- will need to shape the unit.
Peter Schmuck, columnist: Suddenly, the decision to draft Courtney Upshaw with the Ravens' first pick in the draft looks particularly clairvoyant. If Suggs suffered a complete Achilles' rupture, the Ravens will need all hands on deck -- Upshaw, Paul Kruger and others (Sergio Kindle?) -- to fill a void that could exist all season.
Kevin Cowherd, columnist: It’s not the end of the world, even though talk radio is treating it that way this morning. It’s hard to replace a Terrell Suggs, but I fully expect the Ravens to trade for an experienced pass rusher in the coming months. The Courtney Upshaw draft pick looks like a total winner now. And if Sergio Kindle can finally be the player the Ravens hoped he’d be two years ago, the team can weather this storm.
Ron Fritz, head of sports: This is obviously a devastating injury for the Ravens, but with the front office and coaching staff the team has in place, it doesn’t have to be an injury that kills the Ravens’ 2012 season. The Ravens always pride themselves on “next man up.” But Suggs is one of the few players the Ravens could not afford to lose (Joe Flacco, Ray Rice being the others). The offseason just got a whole lot more interesting for the Ravens.
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