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Eric Weddle, Terrell Suggs Impressed With New-Look Defense

Posted Jun 16, 2017

The Ravens injected the defense with some talented young players, and the veterans like what they see.

Terrell Suggs has played on some of the best Ravens defenses ever. Eric Weddle is a four-time Pro Bowler and leader of Baltimore’s secondary.

The two of them know what a good defense looks like. And they both like what they see in their group this season.

“We have a tremendous amount of potential” Suggs said. “We have to live up to it.”

The Ravens made significant investments in their defense this offseason. They added safety Tony Jefferson and cornerback Brandon Carr in free agency, and rewarded nose tackle Brandon Williams with a massive contract. General Manager Ozzie Newsome then used his first four draft picks on defensive players, adding a cornerback, defensive lineman and a pair of pass rushers.

The moves were made with the goal of having one of the league’s best defenses, and the veteran leaders aren’t shying away from that expectation.

“You can’t have a day off, a bad practice, if you want to be the best,” Weddle said. “Everyone has that mentality. Coming up short last year, that’s on everyone’s minds. Nothing is guaranteed in this league. We understand that we can’t have a year not be successful.”

Weddle and Suggs have helped set the tone for the defense this offseason.

Weddle is known as a workout warrior and Suggs decided to stay in Baltimore this offseason to go through the team’s full voluntary offseason conditioning program. The 15-year veteran typically trains on his own during the offseason months, but having him at the Under Armour Performance Center helped keep everyone accountable.

“It’s a huge plus for our team to see one of our all-time greats working every day,” Weddle said. “It doesn’t give anyone leeway to slip and say, ‘I’m not going to come in. I’m just going to chill today.’ No. Our leader is doing it. We all should be in here.”

That work paid off, as Suggs said he feels better than he has in years. He also admitted that the sting of last season’s ending was part of the motivation to stay in Baltimore all offseason.

“Anytime you fall short, you’re going to be disappointed. That’s definitely going to add a chip and some motivation to your offseason, hence, why I’ve been here,” Suggs said. “You’re definitely disappointed, but now we get a chance to erase what we did last year and create something great this year.”

Suggs and Weddle have both embraced their roles as team leaders, and that’s evident in the way Weddle has connected with Jefferson. They’ve quickly built a great rapport on the back end of the defense, and the Ravens believe their new safety duo will make a huge difference for the defense overall.

“You just love his passion, what he can bring, his physicality, his range, and we expect big things from him – not just this year, but the rest of his career to be one of the best safeties in this league,” Weddle said.

As good as the Ravens feel about the defense right now, they know they have their work cut out for them. They have to build up the group in training camp and the preseason to get to the level they expect, and that’s the message the team leaders emphasized at the conclusion of minicamp.

“We strive to keep each other accountable, including myself,” Weddle said. “We want to make due and give ourselves the best chance to win a bunch of games and be the best unit out there.”

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