Two consecutive days of practice have Ravens outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil feeling optimistic that he will be able to make his 2016 debut Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“That’s what I’m shooting for,” Dumervil said after Thursday’s practice. “I’m shooting to try and go out as soon as I can. I just have to continue to keep building that endurance, building that strength and get that explosiveness where I feel like I’m me. I’m excited.”
The 5-foot-11, 250-pounder posted just six sacks last season after setting a franchise-record 17 in 2014. In the offseason, he underwent surgery to correct a foot issue. He was activated from the team’s physically unable to perform list on Aug. 22.
But a setback related to the operation sidelined him for the first two games. Albert McClellan started in Dumervil’s spot, collecting two tackles and zero sacks.
Defensive coordinator Dean Pees would not confirm that Dumervil will play in Jacksonville, but was encouraged by his participation in practice for the second straight day.
“It’s great to see him out there, and when he gets a chance to play, he’s going to bring Elvis,” Pees said. “It’s going to be great for us to get him on the field. I can’t wait to get him on the field.”
Dumervil was limited in Wednesday’s session, but he seemed happy with how the foot has held up thus far.
“The good thing is, we’ve got a lot of work on it, we put a lot of stress on it,” he said. “The guys are being smart with how we’re progressing with it. The good thing is every time I wake up, it feels the same, so I’m not going backwards.”
Dumervil’s potential return could be a significant boost for a pass rush that has just one sack off the edge from outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles said Dumervil’s presence forces offenses to make some tough decisions on their blocking.
“With those two guys coming off the edge, they put you in one-on-one matchups up front with the offensive line,” Bortles said during a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday. “That’s kind of what they want to do. You have to play well. You have to get help when you can from the backs and the tight ends with chips. Your offensive line has to play pretty good in order to slow those two down.”
Although he is itching to play, Dumervil said the decision would be a collective one involving the medical staff to make sure he is not at risk of exacerbating the injury and being lost for even more time. But he is heartened by the progress he has made.
“We’re at a point where it’s going in the right direction, no doubt,” Dumervil said.