Yes, there is a very good chance that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs will not play in 2012 due to his Achilles Tendon injury. Yes, Suggs was pretty much the only pass rusher the Ravens could consistently rely on. Yes, he is the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
But is that enough to drive legions of Ravens fans to the highest ledges of skyscrapers all around town, if not traveling the globe to search out the highest ones in the world to leap from? No, of course not.
While you cannot replace the complete job that Suggs did at the outside linebacker spot, with double-digit QB sacks and leading the league in forced fumbles, you have to balance out your defense to compensate for the loss and hope someone unexpectedly steps up to fill those stats elsewhere on the defense.
Will any one player compile the stats that Suggs did? Doubtful, but perhaps among the remaining players, they will be disrupted to a point that opposing offenses cannot easily see who to focus on disrupting offenses. Perhaps one week it will be Haloti Ngata, and other week, Paul Kruger and even rookie Courtney Upshaw and dare we say, Sergio Kindle?
However, as long as we have, regardless of their ages, Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, much less Ngata and arguably one of the best cornerback groups in the league, this defense will still be feared throughout the league. Although every opposing team will be a lot happier to know that #55 is not lining up their QB for a take-down, the pressure will be coming from somewhere else and now that "somewhere" is going to be unknown.
Do not dispair, Ravens fans, and you can certainly "step back from that ledge my friend."