“Come Sunday I may or may not be out there,” Suggs said, via the team’s official Twitter feed.
After losing team leader Ray Lewis and fourth-year corner Lardarius Webb to injury last week, Suggs’ return is something the Ravens defense would welcome. However, if the reigning NFL Defensive Play of the Year returns too soon and is not 100 percent, or not in game shape, he may be a liability.
The worst possible situation for the Ravens is if Suggs returns too soon and re-aggravates the injury. This would severely set back the career of the All-Pro linebacker, something the Ravens cannot suffer with Ray Lewis’ retirement up in the air.
Another issue is that Suggs physically does not look like the 14-sack, 70 tackle performer from a year ago. Reports have Suggs 15-20 pounds overweight and sill walking lightly on his surgically repaired foot (via AOL.com) Also, Achilles injuries are known to sap a player’s explosiveness. Suggs may look more like ‘T-Fizzle’ not ‘T-Sizzle if he takes the field too soon.
Even at 70 percent Suggs is better than most outside linebackers in the league, but overweight and out of shape could make him a liability on the field. The Ravens have rotated Albert McClellan, Paul Kruger and rookie Courtney Upshaw at outside linebacker, and the trio has improved every game.
Another issue is that the Ravens’ run defense has been horrid this year and will be even worse with the absence of Lewis, the team's leading tackler. Suggs is primarily a pass rusher and his presence will likely not improve the chances of the Ravens slowing down the NFL’s fourth leading rusher Arian Foster and Ben Tate.
McClellan, Kruger and Upshaw and the rest of the linebacker corps will have to step up in the absence of Lewis, but they should survive with Suggs’ sidelined for an additional week.
The most important argument for keeping Suggs on the sideline for another week is that the Ravens’ bye is in Week 8. By sitting out another week Suggs would have an opportunity to get his body in game shape away from the field, while not risking setting back his recovery in the gauntlet of an NFL game.
While it was uncertain when Suggs suffered his injury if we would see him in a Ravens’ uniform this year, that now that seems like a certainty. It is now a question of when than if. However, that when should not be till after the bye week.