Terrell Suggs made an important distinction after Saturday's practice.
While the Ravens defense struggled to stop the run in Thursday's preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons, Suggs stressed that the unit has plenty of time to work out the kinks.
"You've definitely got a concern, but I don't want you to confuse 'concern' with 'panic,'" Suggs said.
The starting defense played most of the first half, giving up 255 total yards and falling behind the Falcons 20-7. Atlanta was able to move the ball both on the ground and through the air.
The run defense has been highlighted as a strength of the team because of the offseason, but the starting defense allowed 76 rushing yards and a touchdown. Head Coach John Harbaugh and several defenders made a point after the game to say that the run defense needs to improve, and Suggs said that they have already started working to clean up the issues.
"Do you hit the panic button saying, 'Oh my gosh, this team is going to struggle against the run this year?' Absolutely not," Suggs said. "You get the things corrected and you take it into the next game. You definitely want to address the issues, the things that we saw out there on Thursday night, but there is no cause for panic."
The Ravens are going through a significant transition on defense. They have to replace eight players who started last season – including leaders and future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed – and Suggs has taken the task of leadership upon himself.
"The [mindset] of the guys out here is that we are all here to work," Suggs said. "We have not achieved anything yet. [Our record] is still 0-0, and the first game is to be played in September, not in August. We all know and we all understand we've got to continue to come out here and work."
Even with all the changes, many analysts and pundits think the group could actually be better than last season.
The front seven is built around Suggs and perennial Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata. Outside linebacker Elvis Dumervil gives the Ravens a star pass rusher to complement Suggs. Rookies Matt Elam and Arthur Brown are making big strides through the preseason.
The Ravens have all the pieces to become a top-flight defense, and Suggs likes the mentality that he sees from his teammates.
"It's not going to be perfect now, and I wouldn't want to be perfect now," Suggs said. "I'd rather be perfect going into November and December. I say it all the time: 'No Super Bowls are won in preseason, but you have lost some.' You've just got to continue to play and get better."