Terrell Suggs: Wink Martindale Is Taking 'Handcuffs' Off Ravens Defense


As the Ravens defense takes the field against the offense with (pretty much) the full team present for the first week of Organized Team Activities, there are still a lot of limitations.

Namely, there's no tackling or even much of any contact.

But once the season rolls around, expect this year's Ravens defense to be off the chain.

Earlier this offseason, as the Ravens' strength and conditioning program kicked off, safety Eric Weddle and linebacker C.J. Mosley talked about how they'll have more control in the defense with Don "Wink" Martindale as their new coordinator.

Last week, veteran outside linebacker Terrell Suggs took it a step further when explaining why he's excited for this season.

"He's taking the handcuffs off the guys," Suggs said. "Sometimes a player can be shackled just by the rules and confines of the defense. I think Wink is going to allow us to go make plays and be that fast-moving defense that this city and our fans love."

The defense was very solid under former coordinator Dean Pees, who retired at the end of last season then came out of retirement to take the same job with the Tennessee Titans. But it lacked the same bite as Ravens defenses of years past.

The unit particularly had too many late-game breakdowns, and last year's fourth-and-12 letdown in Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals cost the Ravens a trip to the playoffs.

One fan asked Suggs what the team planned to do to prevent that from happening again. Suggs said it was not only a good question, but a fair one.

"I think we're going to have a combination," Suggs said. "Most importantly, [it's] the right guys in the right position. It's got to be universal between coach and player, and I think that's what we've all been working on this past offseason.

"We're all getting on the same page so we won't be on the outside looking in like last year."

The Ravens defense is led by veterans who have a strong feel for the game and when they need to apply more pressure. Suggs and Mosley command the front-seven while Weddle handles the back end.

While Martindale does plan to give his players more of a voice, he's of course still calling the shots. Suggs worked with Martindale for the past six years as the team's linebackers coach, and praised him for the way he prepares for a game and handles his players.

"He has a very high football IQ," Suggs said. "I'm very excited about how he coaches. … Just know, it's going to be fun, especially with this personnel that we have."

Related Content