Thursday, May 3, 2012

Terrell Suggs - Fall So Hard: Torn Achilles May Sideline Him For Season

Vinny Cerrato, via the Twitter account @1057TheFan, reported Thursday, May 2nd, that the Baltimore Ravens best linebacker and arguably best defensive player, Terrell Suggs, had torn his achilles, and was likely out for the 2012 season.

I couldn't be happier...or more upset.

Suggs being out for season for is a massive blow to the Ravens. -

As David Todd of says, "Suggs is more important to the Ravens defense than any single player to the Steelers defense. Troy, Silverback, Ike... Huge loss. Rookie Upshaw steps right in."

He's right. That one player will greatly affect the way the Ravens line up, the way they scheme and how much they blitz. Last year they were ninth in the league in blitzing, doing so over 36%. I expect that to increase. -

Last year Suggs had 70 tackles, 14 sacks, 7 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions, gaining him the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. So like I said, I couldn't be happier.

Suggs is expected to undergo surgery on his torn achilles next week. In this blogger's opinion, he is likely out for the 2012 season.

I have a torn achilles and know first-hand the pain and extensive rehabilitation involved. Terrell Suggs tore his achilles in a conditioning test Thursday, but expects to be back by October. -

Wishful thinking. Suggs turns 30 years old also in October. Even if he is able to return then, It's safe to wonder if he'll ever be able to produce at the same level again.

As I said earlier, I have an achilles tear. I've done my research on recovery and rehabilitation. The average timeframe for an everyday person, depending on severity, is nine to 15 months. Allowing for another three to nine months before you're playing a pick-up game with your buddies again.

On the other hand, the average return time for an NFL player from a torn achilles tendon, with the best surgeons, therapists and facilities available, is around 11 months according to a 2006 study.

October? In order to face the Steelers the next month? In other words, five months? Again, wishful thinking. The absolute last person to listen to regarding a prognosis on an injury is the injured player. Realistically, Suggs simply won't see the field this year. Even if he were to make, he'd be largely ineffective.

I suppose the Ravens could take full advantage of the PUP list, as I've explained in a previous blog regarding Rashard Mendenhall, and make a decision on playing him or putting him on injured reserve at that point. Even then it's a stretch.

That, though, touches on why I couldn't be more upset. Playing the Ravens without Suggs is like the Ravens playing the Steelers without Ben Roethlisberger. He's that important. Were he to be able, though, to rehab and make it back by the November 18th Sunday night game, we'd know we wouldn't be facing the Suggs we all love to hate.

As alluded to before, the Ravens defense will not be the same without Suggs. Not at all. He isn't the massive presence that is Haloti Ngata, nor is he the emotional leader that is Ray Lewis. But the Ravens defense doesn't completely scare without Suggs.

As The Ravens Insider surmised, "What can the Ravens do without Suggs? Could go with Paul Kruger at rush LB and start rookie Courtney Upshaw at SAM or vice versa." (The strongside linebacker {SLB} is often nicknamed "SAM" for purposes of calling a blitz.)

That might be the lone bright spot for Baltimore in this: Courtney Upshaw, the Ravens 1st-round pick, played Terrell Suggs' spot on defense at Alabama.

It still won't be the same. Not without Mush Mouth.

They certainly can't depend upon Ray Ray who lost a step two years ago and compounded that by losing another step last year. Arriving to the point of attack late and simply piling on top of the actual tacklers hardly says "lean on me."

The Ravens have tossed around the idea of going after Osi Umenyiora a few occasions in the past. Even as recently as last year. Suggs' injury may cause them to look his way again. They could certainly use the help.

Whatever they do as a team is going to be of real interest because of the loss Suggs represents. I personally would love to see him argue with Skip Bayless again, or to see his face like this once again: 

I'm afraid it just won't happen this year.