Suggs preparing for Monday's matchup vs. Ferguson

Suggs said he is anticipating a spirited exchange with Ferguson.

September 10, 2010|By Edward Lee, The Baltimore Sun

Terrell Suggs' road to redemption begins with one of his toughest matchups of the season.

A year that could feature battles against some of the best left tackles in the league in the Denver Broncos' Ryan Clady, the Miami Dolphins' Jake Long and the Cleveland Browns' Joe Thomas starts with the Ravens outside linebacker matching wits and strength with the New York Jets' D'Brickashaw Ferguson in both team's season opener Monday night.

Suggs is well aware of Ferguson's powerful frame (6-feet-6, 310 pounds) and impressive footwork.

"I think he's a really good, solid left tackle," Suggs said. "He's very athletic, and defending the pass rush is definitely his No. 1 area of expertise, being that he is so athletic. So it's going to be a good matchup, I think."

After a disappointing 2009 season in which he recorded a career-low 4½ sacks and finished with just 58 tackles in 13 games, Suggs rededicated himself in the offseason. Listed at 6-foot-3 and 260 pounds, Suggs has appeared slimmer and quicker in the preseason.

"I thought he had an outstanding year as far as playing the run," defensive coordinator Greg Mattison said. "I think what Terrell Suggs has set out to do from the day he got here — with getting his weight down, being in tremendous shape — is to be the great football player that he is in all phases of it. And he's done it every day in practice. Terrell Suggs has come out all through camp and not missed a beat and not missed a practice, not anything like that. He has really practiced like he should practice, and that's why he's going to get great rewards this year."

If Suggs can apply pressure, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez might wilt under the heat and make bad decisions. Then again, the organization signed Ferguson, 26, to a six-year, $60 million extension in July to prevent Sanchez from getting overwhelmed.

Suggs said he is anticipating a spirited exchange with Ferguson.

"You've just got to play well," Suggs said. "Bring everything you've got in the toolbox and pack a lunch because it's going to be one of those nights."

Webb still an option

Although coach John Harbaugh has said that he is "not anticipating" the return of cornerback Lardarius Webb, Mattison said he wouldn't rule Webb out just yet.

"I was watching practice yesterday and they [members of the scout team] had these yellow shirts on out there and I kept looking at the new guys," Mattison said. "You can't see their faces, and this guy with dreads kept making plays. Honestly, I walked over to John and I was sitting there watching this and I said, 'I wonder who this guy is.' Then I said, 'Oh, that's Lardarius.' He's a lot closer. He's worked extremely hard, and another tribute to [secondary coach] Chuck [Pagano], he's worked really hard with him after practice on some of the things he has to work on to catch up, and we're excited about him coming back."

Webb, who hasn't played in a game since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee on Dec. 20, has said that the decision to play rests with Harbaugh and trainer Bill Tessendorf.

"I don't know," Webb said Wednesday of his estimation on the health of his knee. "I'm just going this week and pushing it as hard as I can go and just see where I'm at."

Cousins, Kruger aiming to play

With Jared Gaither officially ruled out for Monday night's season opener against the New York Jets, the focus shifts to whether right tackle Oniel Cousins has recovered enough from the concussion that he suffered during training camp on Aug. 18.

"I'm just coming back from my concussion," said Cousins, who practiced for the second straight day. "I was able to get out there yesterday and do some things, and I felt pretty good. I'm just going to get back out there today and see how I feel. I'm just going to take it one day at a time. My doctors just want me to take it slow and see how I feel. If I continue to feel pretty good, then I know I'll have no symptoms. … I'm just going to wait, but overall, I felt pretty good, and I'm hoping to get going Monday night."

After sitting out Thursday's practice with an injured left shoulder, defensive end Paul Kruger was upgraded to limited participation Friday.

Kruger said the shoulder is still sore, especially when he tries to make a quick and aggressive move. He acknowledged that a limited amount of practice time could persuade the coaches and trainers to keep him on the sideline Monday night.

"It's hard when I haven't practiced as much this week," Kruger said. "So they [could] kind of take a risk putting me out there, but at the same time, I've been fine the whole preseason. So we'll see what happens."

Kicker decision revisited

Special teams cooordinator Jerry Rosburg acknowledged that picking Billy Cundiff over Shayne Graham as the team's kicker was a close call.

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