Baltimore's Defense Taking Massive Hits Instead of Giving Them
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: October 15, 2012
Baltimore escaped with a win on Sunday, despite a furious comeback effort from quarterback Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, but its onfield victory wasn't without some costly losses.
It has been reported that cornerback Lardarius Webb tore his ACL and will be done for the season, while veteran linebacker Ray Lewis appears to have torn his triceps, which could spell the end of his season as well. Webb has played a major role in this year's underperofrming secondary, after assuming a starting role last season, and will be replaced by second year corner Jimmy Smith. The learning curve may be significant for Smith, who has mostly lacked physicality in his time on the field. The loss of Lewis may have less of an impact on the field (the Ravens were without him for much of the latter portion of the 2011 season in which they finished 2nd in the AFC), and the intangibles he offers as a leader and motivator can still affect the team's performance.
Defensive end Haloti Ngata also missed parts of Sunday's game with a sprained knee. He continued to play and isn't expected to miss much time (if any), but he looked soft and slow during yesterday's action. Ngata is one of the game's most fearsome pass rushers; his health is vital to the success of Baltimore's defense.
In spite of all the grim implications of losing two key defensive contributors, there is a silver lining after Week 6 in Baltimore. As of tomorrow, reigning Defensive MVP Terrell Suggs is eligible to come off the reserve list. The linebacker tore his Achilles tendon during the offseason and was placed on the "designated for return" reserve list. He'll have three weeks to return to playing form, at which point he'll be either added to the active roster or placed on season-ending injured reserve. Although Baltimore has fielded a talented, top ten defense for years, it hasn't been nearly as effective without Suggs' presence. The pass rush has suffered mightily, and the secondary has struggled accordingly.
T-Sizzle has insisted he will play in the month of November, and Ravens fans are undoubtedly hoping his trainers and medical staff are in agreement. After yesterday's blows, Baltimore will need Suggs more than ever.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general and the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @arahomik
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