Matt Judon would love to have Terrell Suggs’ career success as a pass rusher, but he understands that it will only come through hard work.
Judon’s talent was on full display Sunday during a rare sequence when he recorded sacks on three consecutive plays. He was the first NFL player to pull off that sack hat trick since 2002, and it was something Suggs has never done despite having 131 career sacks.
After he pulled off the feat, Judon celebrated by sprinting off the field and through the tunnel to exit the stadium. It's something fans might have seen a younger Suggs do back in the day. Judon and Suggs have a similar loud personalities. What's even better is that they're starting to look alike on the field.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh believes Judon can become one of the league’s best pass-rushers, and a complete three-down linebacker like Suggs.
“I think all-around player, yes. I think he can be a dominant pass-rusher according to his style – a very physical, explosive, leverage-type of a pass-rusher, great quickness – but also, really good run-edge setter, and that’s the combination you really want,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what Terrell Suggs has been over the years. I’m not making that comparison just yet, but I think he’s watched ‘Sizz’ [Suggs] play, and kind of patterned himself a little bit after that, and to me, he’s a very similar kind of player.”
Suggs has been a mentor to Judon, who was a fifth-round pick from Grand Valley State in 2016, drafted for his potential to become a top-flight pass rusher at outside linebacker. That potential is starting to become reality.
After getting eight sacks last season, Judon has taken over the team lead with six sacks, ½ sack ahead of both Suggs and Za’Darius Smith. Judon credits the 36-year-old Suggs for playing a key role in his growth as a player.
“I feel like walking in here with that guy and everything he’s done for me throughout the years that you see on the field, and a lot of stuff that you don’t see, is just guidance and somebody that approaches the game every day as if it could be his last,” Judon said. “Hopefully, I have about four or five more years with him. He can do this forever, but I’m truly grateful for me being drafted by the Baltimore Ravens and him still being here.”
Judon and Suggs collaborated on the Ravens’ final touchdown Sunday, with Judon getting a strip sack against Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and Suggs scooping up the ball up and running 43 yards for a touchdown.
Judon was surrounded by the media in front of his locker Wednesday, but he remained humble after his standout performance. Asked about taking the baton from Suggs as the Ravens’ next great pass rusher, Judon hit the brakes on that kind of talk.
“That would be putting the cart before the horse,” Judon said. “I have to come out here and I have to continue to make plays and continue to prepare well and continue to do all of that stuff because you’re here today, gone tomorrow. I’m pretty sure there’s 55 guys before me that wore No. 99.”
The Ravens’ pass rush could be a key part of their success or failure Sunday against Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan. Suggs takes pride helping Judon develop, especially with the Ravens (6-5) trying to make a playoff push.
“You know, he’s really coming into his own,” Suggs said. “But that’s been pretty much the role of all the veterans that’s been here before when the younger guys come in, especially a young, big guy that can play. Every young man, every player that walks through this building, is going to be held to a certain standard. We require men to be Ravens around here.”
Lamar Jackson Says Joe Flacco’s Insight Has Been Helpful
Joe Flacco has been participating in the team’s quarterback meeting room despite missing the last two games with a hip injury. Flacco has 11 years of NFL experience while Lamar Jackson is a rookie. Despite their very different playing styles, Jackson said Flacco has been a valuable resource.
“He’ll let me know on the play we’re going over or something like that, he’ll let me know his progression of what he would have done on this play,” Jackson said. “Even a bad play that I did in the game, he’ll let me know how he’s seeing it and stuff like that. So, he’s helping out a lot, him and ‘RG’ [Robert Griffin III], too.”
Harbaugh said the communication between players and coaches in the quarterback room is helpful to everyone involved, which is key for a young player like Jackson.
“Those guys have a great room, all three of those guys, with [Quarterbacks Coach] James [Urban], and then Offensive Coordinator Marty [Mornhinweg], Craig ver Steeg [Senior Offensive Assistant],” Harbaugh said. “We have different coaches who are involved at different times with those guys, so they have pass-protection meetings. There’s just a process that we have that all the quarterbacks are (in), so of course, Joe is involved in that. His input is, I’d say, it’s very big. Joe is a big part of that. The plays that we’re running with Lamar are all plays that we have had in from the beginning, so Joe knows all the plays, so he can certainly have input, and he does.”
Gus Edwards is Serious, With No Apologies
Back-to-back games with over 100 yards rushing has put running back Gus Edwards in the media spotlight, which means he is giving more interviews than ever.
It doesn’t mean is that Edwards’ reserved personality will change. Edwards is serious about football, an undrafted free agent determined to make the most of his opportunity. Some of his runs last longer than his answers to questions, but Edwards is content to let his play speak louder than he does.
“It’s taken me this far, it’s my job,” Edwards said. “Pretty much, it does a lot for me. I take it seriously, and I want to be successful. I have goals for myself. I try to work hard towards those goals.”
Harbaugh smiled when asked about Edwards’ serious demeanor. Harbaugh is fine with Edwards rarely breaking a smile, especially if he keeps breaking tackles.
“I will say this about him, I think it’s an interesting question in the sense that he’s a really good young man, and he’s a really hard worker - very, very serious-minded,” Harbaugh said. “He wants to be successful and he’s kind of all-business. You get him to smile, you kind of feel good about that sometimes. It takes a really funny thing to get him to smile a little bit. If you want to get him to smile, you better be on your joke game. You better bring a good one. But, I really appreciate his approach to the job.”