OWINGS MILLS - Shortly after reporting to the Baltimore Ravens' complex for training camp on Wednesday, franchise career sacks leader Terrell Suggs was asked about the potential he and free agent signee Elvis Dumervil have as a pass rushing tandem.
Suggs paused for a few seconds, a sly-looking smile spreading across his face before saying: "We could be pretty good if everything goes according to plan."
The expectation is that the outside linebackers will make life miserable for opposing quarterbacks this season.
Dumervil, signed in the offseason after playing six seasons with and accumulating 63.5 sacks for the Denver Broncos, said he was excited about the opportunity to play opposite of Suggs and said the pairing "should be special."
Overall, the Ravens' defense is in transition. Ray Lewis is gone. So are Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger and Cary Williams. As many as seven of Baltimore's 11 defensive starters this year could be players that weren't even on the roster last season.
But no one in the organization is worried about outside linebacker. Not with Suggs on one side and Dumervil on the other.
The Ravens have had great individual pass rushers before. Suggs. Kruger. Peter Boulware. Michael McCrary.
They've had strong pass rush tandems before, too. But maybe none with the collective talent of Suggs and Dumervil.
The Ravens struggled to generate a consistent pass rush for much of the regular season last year, tallying just 13 sacks through their first eight games.
Kruger began to emerge about midway through the year, and he shined even more in the playoffs, but Suggs missed the first six games of the year as he rehabbed from a torn Achilles tendon and was clearly limited by the Achilles even after returning.
His explosiveness was not the same. His mobility was lessened. He was overweight after missing training camp, the preseason and the beginning part of the regular season. He was nowhere near the level of impact player he had been throughout career.
But Suggs did begin to show flashes of his old form during the playoffs, and he showed up to Baltimore's mandatory minicamp last month leaner and without any noticeable limitations remaining from the Achilles injury.
"I'm 100 percent," Suggs said Wednesday.
When healthy, Suggs is one of the NFL's premier pass rushers. He had 84.5 sacks in his first nine NFL seasons and is just two years removed from a 2011 season during which he had an AFC-best 14 sacks and was NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
But Dumervil provides a pass rushing complement to Suggs that Baltimore hasn't had, especially at outside linebacker, since Adalius Thomas left for the New England Patriots following the 2006 season.
Jarret Johnson was a productive longtime starter opposite Suggs, and was a highly regarded presence against the run, but he had just 17 total sacks during his last five seasons with the Ravens. And Kruger, who signed with the Cleveland Browns in March, had a breakout season last year, but had just 6.5 sacks through his first three NFL seasons.
"Not to take anything away from Kruger and Jarret Johnson but Elvis, he has a specialty in the things that he does, kind of like myself," Suggs said. "I think it's going to be fun to see us when we finally all get to get out there and get after it and the bullets are live."
The admiration is mutual.
"I think his IQ of football is good," he said. "I think he has a great anticipation of the ball and the pre-snap keys. So I think he knows what's going on, and that's big as an outside rusher."
Dumervil, who signed with the Ravens in March, is a player who has made the Pro Bowl each of the last three years that he's been healthy, is coming off an 11-sack season with the Broncos last year and is still just 29 years old.
He missed the 2010 season due to injury, but he has 37.5 sacks and 10 forced fumbles in the last 45 games he's played in dating back to 2009.
But, like the 2006 Ravens pass rush that had a team-record 60 sacks, Baltimore's rush is expected to be dangerous because of more than just the outside linebackers.
Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata has 15.5 sacks the last three seasons. Defensive end Chris Canty, who signed with the Ravens in March, had four sacks in 2011 and three in nine games last season. Defensive lineman Arthur Jones had 4.5 sacks last season.
There's also Courtney Upshaw and John Simon at outside linebacker, who are both expected to contribute to the pass rush in situational-type roles.
Upshaw, Baltimore's top pick in last year's draft, had just 1.5 sacks as a rookie last season, but he had 9.5 as a senior at the University of Alabama in 2011.
Simon, a fourth-round pick this year, had nine sacks as a senior at Ohio State last season.
"I'm excited," Dumervil said. "I think we have a lot of good players on this defense. I think, primarily, you have got guys inside. ...
"Obviously, with what Terrell Suggs brings on the other side, it can be a trifecta, so it should be special."
NOTE: The Ravens' first full-squad training camp practice is scheduled for this afternoon. They canceled their practice on Wednesday and instead took a trip to Gettysburg, Pa., and received a tour of the battlefield.