I am by no means a morning person. Not even close. If you know me at all, you’re well-aware of that fact.
So why am I up at 6:52 this morning?
Well, I’m heading out to the Fox 1370 studios to co-host the morning show from 8-12. I’ll be doing so tomorrow as well, so if you’re getting a little bored on your drive to work or while sitting at your desk, feel free to call in and chat some Ravens (or O’s, or Terps, or duckpin bowling) with me.
One topic that the members of the Ravens’ front office will chat about throughout the offseason - how’s that for a smooth transition - is their team’s meager sack total during the 2010 season.
Baltimore racked up just 27 sacks this season, which ranked 27th in the league and was the Ravens’ lowest total in franchise history. To put that number in perspective, the Steelers - who led the NFL in sacks - posted a whopping 48 this season.
The Ravens’ low number of sacks came despite outside linebacker Terrell Suggs posting his highest sack total since his rookie year. Suggs had 11 sacks on the season, and if you add in the five that he recorded in two postseason games, Sizzle accounted for 44 percent of the Ravens’ overall sacks.
That percentage is far too high. The Ravens loved seeing Suggs bounce back from a poor 2009 season with a fantastic 2010 campaign, but they would much prefer if Suggs got a little help from his friends.
“This was the least amount of sacks that we’ve had, and yet it was probably one of the most productive years that Suggs had. So, that one caught me off guard a little bit,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said last month. “I thought we did a good job of affecting the quarterback this year. Going forward, are we going to continue to try to bring in some other people that can get to the passer? Having Suggs to have a companion, to go along with him as we did with Peter [Boulware] and Suggs?
“That will be very helpful for the organization, and it’s something that we’ll look into as we move forward.”
That idea of finding someone to play opposite Suggs is one the Ravens should seriously consider.
In 2009, when Suggs was struggling, the Ravens got some sack contributions from other guys off the edges. Defensive end Trevor Pryce had 6 1/2 sacks and outside linebacker Jarret Johnson chipped in with a career-high six.
This season, Pryce was cut midseason, Johnson had just 1 1/2 sacks, and the Ravens lacked a consistent rusher on the opposite side of Suggs. Teams were able to shift their protections toward Suggs, making things even tougher on the four-time Pro Bowler.
Yes, defensive end Cory Redding played increasingly well as the year went on, and the Ravens lost a potential pass rushing stud when their top draft pick, outside linebacker Sergio Kindle, fractured his skull prior to training camp, effectively ending his season before it started.
But adding another pass rushing threat on the outside is something that the Ravens’ brass need to look into this offseason, either through the draft or free agency (if there is free agency).
Suggs had an exceptional 2010 season, but he can’t do it all alone.