Will linebackers Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs return to being a dynamic pass rushing combo next season?
That’s a major question for the Ravens. With 96 career sacks, Dumervil needs just four sacks next season to reach 100. Suggs has already reached that milestone with 106 career sacks, but he is recovering from Achilles surgery and at age 33, Suggs is 21 months older than Dumervil, who turned 32 years old in January.
The 2015 season was a downer for Suggs, who saw his season end in Week 1 with a torn Achilles against the Broncos. Suggs’ absence allowed Ravens’ opponents to focus more on blocking Dumervil, who still made the Pro Bowl but finished with just six sacks, his lowest total since 2008.
Asking Suggs and Dumervil to carry a heavy pass rushing load again in 2016 may be asking too much, but the Ravens may not have any choice. The Ravens will try to add pass rushers any way possible this offseason, via the draft, free agency, or trade. But elite pass rushers are a precious commodity, often difficult to acquire.
Even if the Ravens draft a pass rusher, they must hope that second-year linebacker Za’Darius Smith continues to develop. Smith had 3 ½ of his 5 ½ sacks over the final three games. Meanwhile, defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan brings pass-rushing ability from the inside, with eight sacks over his first two seasons, despite being hampered by injuries.
Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware of the Broncos showed how important an elite pass rushing duo can be, helping the Broncos win a Super Bowl. After a miserable 2015 season, the Ravens hope the combo of Suggs and Dumervil can make quarterbacks miserable again.