Ravens: Suggs hoping to avoid repeating mistakes of '13
By By Matt Zenitz Times Staff Writer
Jun 18, 2014 | 8:24 PM
OWINGS MILLS — Through eight games last year, Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs had nine sacks.
He was consistently harassing the quarterback. He was also a presence in the run game. He was a legitimate candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Then he fell off.
He still ended up being selected to the Pro Bowl for the sixth time, but he had just 20 tackles and one sack in the Ravens' final eight games after recording 60 tackles and the nine sacks in the first eight.
The primary reason?
"I probably put on a little too much weight down the stretch there," Suggs said after mandatory minicamp practice Wednesday.
So one of the goals for Suggs going into this year is keeping that weight off throughout the course of the year.
Like last year, Suggs showed up to mandatory minicamp looking trim and in shape.
Coach John Harbaugh even singled out Suggs after practice Tuesday for how he looks.
"He can give you the numbers, but I'll tell you this: The numbers were very good," Harbaugh said. "You can tell he's been working really hard."
But the challenge now is keeping the weight off.
If he can, Baltimore's brass feels Suggs and Elvis Dumervil should pair to provide the type of disruptive pass rushing tandem they did during the first half of last season even with Suggs set to turn 32 in October.
For what it's worth, though, Suggs has been vintage Suggs during the first two days of minicamp.
He has been talking — a lot.
At one point Tuesday, cornerback Jimmy Smith picked off quarterback Joe Flacco and returned the interception for a touchdown. Suggs responded by yelling to new Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak that he should start working with the offense on tackling.
He also had fun at the expense of reserve wide receiver Deonte Thompson. After Thompson dropped a pass during the team portion of practice, Suggs playfully yelled, "You piece of [expletive]."
But Suggs has also been Suggs when it comes to football, as much as he can during an unpadded, minimal contact minicamp.
He ran through second-year offensive lineman Ryan Jensen at one point Tuesday and looks to be moving around as good as he was last year at this time.
"I feel great," Suggs said. "To be totally honest with you, it's all in your mindset. If you think you're old, you're going to train old and then you're going to perform old. I'm 31, but I feel like it's Day One for me. So, I just need to go out there and have fun. Like I said, I think it's all a mindset."