Word out of Baltimore Ravens’ camp this week is that reigning defensive player of the year Terrell Suggs is set to play this Sunday on the road against the Houston Texans. Suggs, who suffered an Achilles injury back in April, was activated off the physically unable to perform (PUP) list this week and practiced Wednesday for the first time. Despite the incredibly short timetable, Suggs is apparently telling anybody that will listen that he plans on suiting up for the first time all season against the Texans Sunday. So the question for the Texans is, does Suggs’ activation hurt the Texans chances of winning, or does it actually help?
The fact that Suggs is even close enough to consider playing Sunday is nothing short of remarkable. Should Suggs actually take the field against the Texans (there are several Ravens insiders who don’t believe he’ll actually play), what player will the Texans see? Are they going to go up against the DPOY, or are they going to see a shell of Suggs, a guy who isn’t 100% and is still shaking off the rust most players have an entire preseason to shed.
Its understandable Suggs feels the need, maybe even the necessity, for his early return. In the wake of injuries to ILB Ray Lewis, NT Haloti Ngata, and CB Lardarius Webb, Suggs perhaps feels the pressure to come back to compensate for these monumental losses. If this is the case and he truly isn’t ready to contribute in the manner in which he is accustomed, one could argue Suggs could be more detrimental to his team than helpful, clearly to the Texans’ advantage.
Unfortunately for the Texans, they’ll have to prepare this week as if they are playing against a full-strength Suggs, whether he is or isn’t. However, the Texans are already playing with house money due to the injuries of Lewis, Ngata, and Webb. Whether Suggs is his usual self or not, the Texans are going to have an easier time with the Ravens’ defense than they would have one week ago. If Suggs isn’t 100%, it only further plays into the Texans’ hand. The Ravens are probably also conscious of this, and if a 75% Suggs is not better than 100% of anybody else that would be in the game in his place, the Texans are unlikely to see much, or any, of the outside linebacker.
Come game time Sunday afternoon, the only way Suggs makes a difference is if he shows up as the guy who racked up 14 sacks a year ago. If Suggs is any less than that, the Texans hold a clear advantage because of the turnover in the Ravens’ defensive lineup. Suggs has the potential to make a huge impact, but it’s unlikely he will or that one player can make up for the losses of several others. The Texans are in a good situation heading into the weekend regardless of Suggs’ status, and have an excellent chance to get revenge on the team that ended their season a year ago.
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