Ravens Linebackers Coach Ted Monachino knows Terrell Suggs about as well as anyone.
The two have a relationship dating back to their days together at Arizona State when Monachino was Suggs' position coach, and the coach sees his star pupil at the top of his game right now.
"I think that Terrell is on an all-time high right now in a lot of areas in his life," Monachino said Sunday.
Suggs has drawn rave reviews for his work in the offseason and in the early part of training camp. The 11-year veteran came into camp slimmed down and motivated after fighting through significant injuries last year.
Suggs has stood out in nearly every camp practice, running past offensive linemen, batting down passes and getting to the quarterbacks in the backfield. He has embraced the duty of becoming more of a defensive leader, and his attitude is evident throughout the building.
"It's a different Suggs than I've seen in the last four seasons," said Monachino, who joined the Ravens in 2010. "It's a similar Suggs to the one I saw as a 19-year-old kid. He is completely involved; he can't get enough football right now.
"He loves the work, he loves the leadership role he's taken on, and so, all of that put together makes him practice and prepare and approach his business the way that an 11-year pro should."
The offseason changes for Suggs have been clear since he first arrived for mandatory minicamp last month. His lean appearance is noticeable at first sight, and that commitment to his conditioning during the offseason impressed his teammates and coaching staff.
"I think when he walks through the doorway you can see that there's a change," Monachino said.
Suggs has not told reporters exactly how much weight he's dropped, but just said that he took advantage of his opportunities to work out during the offseason. He's still big enough to match up against offensive tackles to defend the run, but he also has speed to get around the edges.
"The beauty of it is that he's been able to change his body, but not necessarily his body weight," Monachino said. "I think he looks great and he feels great, and a lot of things that go into playing this position require that."
The Ravens hope that Suggs is able to return to the form he showed in 2011, when he notched 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and was the Defensive Player of the Year. The team has re-built the defensive front with additions like Elvis Dumervil, Chris Canty, Marcus Spears and Brandon Williams, and Suggs is the cornerstone of the unit.
His commitment has paid dividends early in training camp, and the Ravens expect that to carry over into the regular season.
"He feels fast, he feels flexible and he feels strong," Monachino said. "And if he can feel that way for a long time, he's going to have another great year."