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.
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What the Ravens have lost in three-time Pro Bowl linebacker C.J. Mosley due to injury, they've gained in rookie Kenny Young.
Week 2 against the Bengals, Young stepped in for Mosley and put up five solo tackles and three assists. Then when Week 3 came around and Mosley was still too injured to play, Young got the start and logged 44 snaps. He finished with eight solo tackles, two assists and a critical third-down sack on Broncos quarterback Case Keenum in the second quarter. Young's stingy performance helped fuel a stellar defensive effort in the Ravens' 27-14 victory.
A fourth-round draft pick out of UCLA, Young has the maturity needed to succeed in this league.
Obsessed with perfection, as noted in a profile done via the Ravens' website, Young is already impressing his coaches and veteran teammates.
He’s a smart guy, so he doesn’t get overwhelmed by a mistake,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s not scared to make a mistake. He’s willing to play fast even if he does make a mistake. And sometimes, some of the plays you see him making? He might not be perfectly where he’s supposed to be, but that willingness to play fast overcomes it, and you go make a good football play.
While the timetable for Mosely's return is unknown, the Ravens can find solace in knowing their young replacement is a steady hand.
The 23-year-old currently leads the team in tackles (17), followed by Tony Jefferson (12).
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The Ravens got a 27-14 win over the Denver Broncos in Week 3.
It was an interesting game for many reasons including Broncos star rookie running back, Phillip Lindsay, getting ejected in the first half for throwing a punch.
Here's what you need to know from Sunday's win:
— Rookie linebacker Kenny Young stepped in for injured C.J. Mosley and showed he will be a starter. Young had a critical sack on Broncos quarterback Case Keenum on a third down in the second and finished the day with 10 tackles. The Ravens defense as a whole was impressive. While they gave up a lot of short third downs, they stopped their fair share as well. Most importantly was the late fourth quarter interception from Patrick Onwuasor, while the Broncos were threatening in Ravens territory.
— The Ravens are continuing to work on the run game, as something offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg emphasized after the team was averaging just 3.3-yards-per-carry heading into Week 3. Against the Broncos, the team averaged just 2.8 yard-per-carry, but put up two rushing touchdowns from Buck Allen and Alex Collins.
— It was a strange day for the Ravens' special teams when the Broncos blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown on the first drive of the game. The day became even stranger when safety Justin Simmons, (illegally) leaped over long snapper Morgan Cox to block a field goal and the penalty went uncalled. Kicker Justin Tucker made up for it by hitting not one, but two 52-yard field goals, his eighth straight from beyond 50.
— Joe Flacco finished the day 25 of 40 for 277 yards and one touchdown, while helping improve the team to 12-12 in the red zone. The QBs most impressive play came late in the fourth on a third down hitting the gas pedal, to not only get the first down but stayed in-bounds to keep the clock running and sealing the team's victory. His connection with John Brown continues to be strong after finding the receiver for a 44-yard gain, too.
The Ravens are now 2-1 and head to Pittsburgh for a Sunday night matchup in Week 4.
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