Suggs Not Retiring, But Could Play Elsewhere
If you didn't like the way the defense looked without its leader, Terrell Suggs, there's good and bad news.
The good news is Suggs reportedly won't retire and is under contract for the Ravens' 2016 season. The bad news is the Ravens still need to figure out how to regroup in 2015 without him, and find a way to make his salary work next season.
The "or elsewhere" part puts a damper on the good news.
CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora already reported last week that Suggs underwent surgery to repair his torn Achilles, and the 33-year-old veteran will begin the arduous rehabilitation fully intending to play football. He understands* *the process, as he rehabbed an Achilles tear in 2012 and made a quick return in time for a Super Bowl season.
Despite Suggs saying this offseason that he's playing on the "back nine" of his career, La Canfora writes the outside linebacker has given retirement "zero thought" and is "fully focused" on playing next season.
"He isn't content to let his potential Hall of Fame career end in this manner," wrote La Canfora. "However, his future with the Ravens was already in doubt beyond this season."
Suggs is reportedly scheduled to earn a $4.5 million salary next season, and his cap number is a sizable $7.45 million. It seems unlikely the Ravens would just cut him outright, however, because that would cost a million more than to keep him. His dead money would be $8.85 million because of future years of proration of his bonus payments.
As he showed last season when he agreed to a restructured contract, Suggs has been willing to move money around in order to free cap space for the good of the overall roster. He's shown a desire to be a Raven for life like Ray Lewis.
But with Suggs and Elvis Dumervil (31) aging, La Canfora says the Ravens were already considering adding young pass rushers, with a high priority on acquiring some in the 2016 draft. He also believes Suggs could find an incentive-heavy contract with another team, similar to the way pass rushers like Dwight Freeney, Trent Cole and Robert Mathis did late in their careers, in some cases, coming off significant injuries.
"Regardless, the end in Baltimore could be near for him as the team continues to transition on defense with Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata already gone," wrote La Canfora. "He's working towards being ready to play again next spring.
"As for where exactly, time will tell."
Don't Blame All Defensive Problems On Suggs
There's no way around it. The Ravens missed Suggs in Oakland.
In the defense's first game since 1998 without Suggs, Lewis or Ed Reed playing, the unit gave up a whopping 37 points to an Oakland offense that struggled to even get on the board last week against Cincinnati. Second-year quarterback Derrek Carr carved up the Ravens unit with 351 passing yards.
"The Ravens minus Suggs generated virtually no pass rush against Raiders quarterback Derek Carr," wrote CSNMidAtlantic.com's Bo Smolka. "And if Carr -- who left last week's game with a hand injury -- can shred the Ravens defense that way, is there any reason that Andy Dalton, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Palmer and others on the 2015 schedule cannot?"
But can you really put all of Sunday's issues on one man?
Either Suggs is the greatest defender in the history of the game, or there were problems beyond his absence. The Ravens hope it's the latter, because they can attempt to fix a bad day. They can't fix Suggs' Achilles.
"Don’t blame it on Terrell Suggs being out," wrote The Baltimore Sun's Ron Fritz. "He didn't have a sack against the Broncos and did virtually nothing in the first game.
"It didn't seem that Dean Pees dialed up anything special for the Raiders like he did against the Broncos. The Ravens simply did nothing on defense. Was Carr even hit? … The defense played soft and softer. The Ravens let the Raiders do anything they wanted on offense."
One week ago, the Ravens offense looked like the unit in major trouble. The offensive line couldn't protect quarterback Joe Flacco, and both the running and passing games couldn't get going. One week later, the line didn't allow a single sack and just one quarterback hit. The offense put up more than enough points, 33, to win and Flacco had a triple-digit quarterback rating (102.5).
"The Ravens defense can't be as bad as it looked Sunday, just like the offense proved it wasn't as bad as it looked against the Denver Broncos in Week 1," wrote The Sun's Alexander Pyles. "This is the NFL, folks, where teams are so evenly matched that games come down to big plays. The Ravens didn't make enough on Sunday."
So You're Telling Me There's A Chance
Yes, the Ravens are 0-2 for the first time in the Head Coach John Harbaugh era.
They are in a deep hole as they find themselves at the bottom of the AFC North with all their division opponents notching wins Sunday. Soon after the game, however, Ravens PR man Patrick Gleason tweeted a stat that offers some hope of a Ravens playoff run.
In each of the past two NFL seasons, a team has started 0-2 and still made the postseason. The Carolina Panthers did it in 2013 and the Indianapolis Colts did it in 2014. It just so happens that wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. was on that 2013 Panthers team, so he knows better than anybody it can be done.
For a glass-half empty perspective, only 12 percent of NFL teams who lost their first two games since 1990 have advanced, per ESPN's Jamison Hensley. That's better than one in a million, right Lloyd?
Several teams have opened the season with the same 0-2 record, and some are good enough to turn things around.
In addition to Baltimore, the Seattle Seahawks, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, and Chicago Bears are all winless after two weeks of play. The Indianapolis Colts are 0-1 and play the New York Jets tonight.
"Here's why some (like Seattle) should take a deep breath while others (hello, New Orleans) need to blow it all up," wrote TheMMQB.com's Peter King.
King is confident the Seahawks, who went to the Super Bowl the last two years, will be fine. He thinks the Saints are in big trouble. How does he feel about the Ravens, the team he picked to advance to the Super Bowl this season?
He's not giving up on them, but he doesn't seem as sure about them righting the ship as the Seahawks.
"Time to either save the season or ruin it," wrote King.
"Before the year, the Ravens told the league they'd prefer their four western games—at Denver, Oakland, San Francisco and Arizona—be parceled out, two at a time. So the league scheduled Denver and Oakland roadies in Weeks 1 and 2, and Niner and Cardinals games in Weeks 6 and 7. Surely the Ravens didn't count on being in an 0-2 hole with a brutal five-game stretch coming up beginning Sunday. Baltimore is home to Cincinnati, then travels to its annual mayhem-fest in Pittsburgh on a short-week Thursday."
Jernigan Calls Late Penalty 'Not Acceptable'
It was unacceptable.
That's what defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan called his own roughing the passer penalty with just one minute, 15 seconds remaining in the game when the defense was trying to mount a game-sealing stop. The Raiders were about to face second down at midfield when Jernigan hit Carr several steps after he got rid of the football.
The 15-yard penalty put the Raiders in field goal position.
"At the end of the day, it was a little late," Jernigan told The Sun's Jon Meoli. "Being a professional football player in a team, it’s not acceptable. So I've just got to make better decisions and make my plays between the whistles."
Jernigan said he didn't think Carr would get rid of the ball so quickly, but owned the mistake. He added there was no need for any coaches or players to say anything to him after the game.
"I'm a grown man," Jernigan said. "At the end of the day, right is right, wrong is wrong. Nobody has to pick me up or hold my hand, man. I've got to make up for where I went wrong then, and get ready for next week."
Perriman's First Public Activity
Here's the first sign of a Breshad Perriman return.
The Ravens' first-round draft pick was seen by several media members before the Raiders matchup doing more intense pregame workouts than they've seen since he injured his knee on the first day of training camp.
Perriman was working with Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram as he jogged around the field, caught passes over his shoulder, and even made some cuts.
"[It was] a progression from what he's done before other games this season," wrote Meoli. "Previously, Perriman worked on his hands and caught passes, but was stationary as he did so. Perriman also was running the length of the field at the end of his workout — not at full speed, but in a healthy jog."
The workouts don't mean Perriman will be back next week, however. We'll have to monitor whether he returns to practice, even in a limited capacity, before any talk of game action can even begin. Last week, reports indicated Perriman won't be back until October.
But his running is at least a good sign for coming weeks.
"We'll hear from Marc] Trestman that ‘This is on him,’” wrote Nadeem Kureishy. That’s what he used to say every week in Chicago. The Ravens offense went pass heavy throughout the entire game. This is a typical Trestman offense. We didn’t see any naked bootlegs, power runs out of the I-formation, or any other plays that were successful last year. The Ravens should have [closed out the game with the power run game, but tried to get cute with passes." [Russell Street Report]
Few positives though: Hurst and Wagner played much better, Gillmore proved to critics he's more than just a blocking TE. — Brian Bower (@sportguyRSR) September 21, 2015