Ravens Notebook

Ravens' Terrell Suggs off to sizzling 2011 start

OWINGS MILLS – Terrell Suggs spent his offseason to overseeing his successful independent Maryland film company, approving scripts, giving creative input and personally conducting auditions. He hasn't gone Hollywood, though.

Now, the Baltimore Ravens' four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker has returned to his regular blue-collar job in the trenches: relentlessly pursuing quarterbacks.

Suggs sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger three times and forced two fumbles during the Ravens' 35-7 rout of the Pittsburgh Steelers to open the season and was named the AFC defensive player of the week.

Instead of supervising the latest short films that have won national cinema awards, Suggs is devoted to spending time in darkened film rooms to memorize opponents' blocking strategies. "I've taken my film study up to a new level," said Suggs, whose film company is called Team Sizzle Worldwide. "I can see things before they happen now."

Over the past eight seasons, Suggs has generated 71 ½ sacks to rank atop the franchise all-time list over Peter Boulware. By eclipsing Boulware's mark, Suggs will have a game ball placed in the players' entrance of the Ravens' training complex at the end of the season to recognize his place in team history. "It's very flattering because that's one of the few things they can see when you walk into the building is the all-time leaders of the organization," Suggs said. "I'm honored that my name gets to go up there. It's very flattering, I'm glad to have it, but I have a bigger goal in mind. I hope I just add this to that list." Considering Suggs' recent track record, there's a very good chance of that happening. He has recorded 19 sacks, including the playoffs going back through last season, for the highest total in the league over the past 19 games. And the former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year has eight sacks in the Ravens'last three games, including the postseason. "Terrell Suggs is multi-faceted, no doubt," coach John Harbaugh said. "He gets to the quarterback. He's one of the premier pass rushers, but he's also a great run player. He drops in coverage and plays screens. He's one of the most well-rounded players in the NFL." He's also one of the more entertaining players in the league.

Suggs is known for his colorful quotes, and jokes, cracking up teammates. His locker stall doubles as a mini-cinema, playing the latest action films and comedies. "Terrell is one of the most entertaining people I've ever been around I've ever been around," outside linebacker Jarret Johnson said."He's exactly what people think. No, he's a lot more. People see him as a character and a good player. "He is all of those things, but he's also a great teammate, a great friend, very dependable. I've never been around anybody who cares about his teammates and their actions more than Terrell does." His opponents don't usually share those feelings, especially when they're subjected to his verbal assaults.

"Great trash-talker, that's another skill that he has that he pulls out of the bag every now and then," defensive end Cory Redding said. "Terrell, he lives for the moments. That's what makes him unique.

"In pregame, he does an inspirational talk. In the game, he just plays and does his thing. For the most part, he's quiet and out there busting heads."

Suggs has cut back on the celebratory dancing after sacks that was once his trademark. He hasn't stopped rapping every time he walks onto the practice field, though. "We've got to start blowing people out big, and then I'll start dancing," Suggs said. "Until then, it's business as usual." Suggs' leadership qualities are developing. Suggs, 28, is in his prime and might eventually pick up the torch as the Ravens' next unquestioned defensive leader.

For now, the men atop the leadership flow chart are middle linebacker Ray Lewis and free safety Ed Reed. Suggs' day is coming, though. "Ray is the general, Ed is the lieutenant and I'm the captain," Suggs said. "Yeah, Captain Suggs, I like it."

Only seven players have more sacks than Suggs since he entered the league.

It's a distinguished company of pass rushers, including Jared Allen (83 ½ sacks), DeMarcus Ware (82), Dwight Freeney (81), Julius Peppers (79), John Abraham (77), Robert Mathis (75) and Jason Taylor (74 1/2).

"Seems like every year he hits double-digits in sacks," Redding said. "Dudes really have to look out for him. Quarterbacks really have to find him on the field. They have to account for this guy because if they don't he's going to put the quarterback on his back." Suggs loves movies, but his preference remains sacking quarterbacks along with spending time with his two young children.

"I'm a football player first," Suggs said. "Maybe in a couple of years it will be different, but right now football is still my No. 1 love outside of God and my family. I had the whole offseason to do films, so now it's strictly football."

Notebook: Lee Evans back in a protective boot

OWINGS MILLS - Baltimore Ravens starting wide receiver Lee Evans is back in a protective boot on his left foot due to a lingering ankle injury that first started bothering him during the preseason, sidelining him at practice Wednesday. Evans wore the boot following the Ravens' third preseason game, returning to practice in advance of the Ravens' 35-7 beating of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was targeted four times and didn't catch a pass.

"It's the same," Evans told the Times following the Pittsburgh game. "It is what it is." Acquired via a trade from the Buffalo Bills, Evans caught a touchdown pass and led the Ravens with 128 receiving yards during the preseason. If Evans can't go, the Ravens would have to increase their reliance on wide receiver Anquan Boldin and tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta. At the other receiver spot, they could go with rookie Torrey Smith or David Reed.

CARR VISITS SPECIALIST: Ravens cornerback Chris Carr continues to be plagued by a left hamstring injury that has bothered him since early in training camp, and visited a specialist recently in an effort to address the problem. "I went to Texas and saw somebody and got another way of looking at the injury," Carr said. "I think combined with the stuff I've already been doing here, which has already been good, I think it's going to be good.

"It's been frustrating, because there's been a lot of work going into it. It's just been one of those nagging things, but I think it's going to be better pretty soon."

Carr aggravated his leg again against the Steelers, but didn't tear the hamstring. "It was tough," Carr said. "This last game, it was on that receiver screen that I got caught in a really awkward position where I was really stretched out on my left leg and somebody was cutting me, so that did it. Other than that, I was fine, but it was kind of like the perfect storm. It's been frustrating." Besides Carr and Evans, offensive guard Ben Grubbs (toe) and rookie cornerback Jimmy Smith (high-ankle sprain) didn't practice. For the Titans, starting safety Chris Hope didn't practice with a shoulder injury, along with reserve wide receiver Damian Williams (hamstring). Defensive end William Hayes (shoulder) was limited. Participating fully: running back Javon Ringer (back) and defensive ends Derrick Morgan (knee) and Jason Jones (knee).

DAVID REED RETURNS: Reed returned to practice after serving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy. The punishment stemmed from his probation before judgment sentence in a misdemeanor possession of marijuana case from last year that was initially placed on the inactive docket by a Baltimore County district judge.

"It was very disappointing being against our rivals and everything," Reed said. "I'm just happy I can get it behind me now and move on and just get better. It was hard. It was real hard. "It was real disappointing. I'm just glad to get by it and move on from it. It definitely got me hungry watching."

Reed said he learned the suspension was being handed down midway through training camp. Now, Reed is in the mix to resume his kickoff return duties and also operate possibly as the Ravens' third wide receiver.

"Definitely, I can't wait to show these guys that I'm a player, show the coaches and everybody that I'm back and everything," said Reed, who caught five passes for 84 yards during the preseason. "I feel like I can get in there."

He's unsure if he'll immediately become the primary kickoff returner again. Reed led the league with a 29.3 kickoff return average last season and established a franchise record for longest kickoff return with a 103-yard touchdown against the Houston Texans.

"I'm not sure, it's up to [special teams coordinator Jerry] Rosburg," he said. "I'm just going to compete, continue to compete for it. I think I'm a great kick returner and I think I showed that last year, and I can only get better."

DIRTY PLAY?: Titans star running back Chris Johnson accused the Ravens of trying to injure him during their 13-10 AFC divisional playoff win over Tennessee during the 2008 season. "They were trying to hurt me a little bit," Johnson told Tennessee reporters. "But the play I actually got hurt on, it was a fair play, somebody landed on my ankle the wrong way and I fell back the wrong way. It was a fair play when I got hurt."

Johnson rushed for 72 yards during the first half, but left the game with an ankle injury. "I really don't have any carry-over from then, that was two years ago," he said. "I'm just trying to win the game."

FOXWORTH IMPROVING: Domonique Foxworth was encouraged about how his knee responded during his first regular-season game since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament last year. "It's getting a little bit better every day," Foxworth said. "It's obviously good enough to play and good enough to play at a high level against the defending AFC champs. I stepped out there and held up my end.

"When I was asked to step into action, I did what I needed to do. That little bit of confidence will go a long way as I continue to rehab." The Ravens' depth at cornerback is being tested this week as Carr and Smith are dealing with injuries.

"Out on the edge, it's demanding on your body, so I think all of our guys knew that coming into the season, they were going to have to play, at some point, a significant amount," Foxworth said. "Nobody in our group, I think, thought they were just going to coast through the season." The Ravens could have used Smith against imposing Titans receiver Kenny Britt. "He's a big, physical, fast receiver," Foxworth said. "He can run, but that shouldn't be an issue with us because we have guys that can run, too. I wish Jimmy Smith was healthy this week. We could use him against Britt because he's so big."

KINDLE STILL WAITING: One year after missing his entire rookie season with a fractured skull, outside linebacker Sergio Kindle is still waiting to play in his first NFL regular-season game. Kindle said he hasn't inquired with the coaching staff why he was a healthy scratch. "I didn't ask for a reason," Kindle said. Kindle said he didn't know if he would be active this week. "I'm working hard," he said. "I'll keep working to prove myself when I get my shot."

NO SURGERY FOR MCADOO: Rookie outside linebacker Michael McAdoo was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, ending his season. McAdoo said he won't need surgery on his previously undisclosed knee injury. "I'm disappointed," he said. "I was hoping to get to play this year. I'll just get ready for next season."

QUICK HIT: Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice are on the regional cover of Sports Illustrated this week. "It's kind of cool, but it's crazy," Flacco said. "It really is crazy how week-to-week this league is, how hot and cold everybody is. You just have to sit back and laugh about it."

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