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Elvis Dumervil Plans To Return To Top Sack Duo With Terrell Suggs


The loss of Terrell Suggs took a toll on the entire defense last season.

But perhaps no player felt the impact of Suggs' absence more than fellow outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil. With Suggs sidelined, Dumervil's role changed from a pass-rushing specialist to a defender who had to do a little bit of everything.

By the time the season ended, Dumervil's production had dropped significantly despite playing about 100 more snaps than the previous season. His body had also taken a beating, and he needed offseason surgery to repair a nagging issue in his "foot area" that plagued him for much of the year.

But now Dumervil feels like he is "headed in the right direction" after the surgery, and Suggs is almost 10-months removed from tearing his Achilles. The Ravens are optimistic about having both players ready to go for the start of the season, and Dumervil again has big expectations for the duo.

"The last time we played, we were the [NFL's] No. 1 [sacks] tandem, so that's something we'll try to defend once we both get back healthy," Dumervil told reporters at last week's mandatory minicamp.

Dumervil and Suggs combined for 29 sacks in 2014, and Dumervil led the way with a career-high 17. Last year, Suggs went down in the season opener and Dumervil had just six sacks.

There are plenty of questions about whether they can get back to being the dynamic pass rushers from two years ago. Dumervil is 32 and Suggs is 33, and pass rushers often struggle to keep up their production once when top 30 years old. They are also both coming off surgeries.

But Dumervil is confident in what they can still do as long as they're healthy.

"You've got two alphas, man, and we love doing what we do," Dumervil said. "So, a lot of times, what's understood doesn't really need to be talked about a lot. But I can tell you one thing with him: He's a great teammate, he's a great player and he's a very confident guy. So, he's going to do what he needs to do to make sure we can get what we need to get done."

The last time Suggs suffered a torn Achilles, in 2012, he returned to the field less than six months after surgery. The injury clearly took its toll and Suggs didn't have the same burst for most of that season. He played in eight games and finished with just two sacks. 

Suggs' rehab was much longer this time around, as the Ravens have taken their time in getting the franchise sack leader back on the field.

The Ravens have also brought in some young pass rushers to supplement their aging leaders. They drafted Boise State's Kamalei Correa in the second round and followed up by taking college football's sack leader Matthew Judon in the fifth. Correa and Judon combined for 54 sacks in their college careers. Second-year linebacker Za'Darius Smith is also expected to take on a larger role after finishing second on the team with 5.5 sacks last season.

Adding young pieces to the mix can take some of the pressure off the veterans, and Dumervil hopes to cut down on his snaps to keep from getting worn down at the end of the year.  

"I'll do whatever I have to do, but ideally, I would love to have the rotation to keep guys rotating and keeping us fresh and keep guys doing what they do best," Dumervil said. "We feel good about the players we have. It is just a matter of getting everybody healthy and finishing strong in the offseason so when the real bullets start coming, we are all ready."

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