Terrell Suggs’ Achilles Injury Widens Gap Between Patriots and Ravens Heading Into 2012

Terrell Suggs' Achilles Injury Widens Gap Between Patriots and Ravens Heading Into 2012The Ravens have lost ground on the Patriots throughout the offseason, and the AFC's runner-ups might have suffered a crushing blow Thursday in their race to keep pace with New England.

Linebacker Terrell Suggs, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, told ESPN he suffered a torn Achilles over the weekend. Suggs maintained his ability to get back to the field at some point during the 2012 season, but those are devastating injuries that can take an entire year of recovery. If Suggs beats the odds and returns this season, it would be incredibly unlikely that he'll be close to full strength.

That's a huge loss for the attitude of the Ravens' defense. Suggs had 14 sacks, seven forced fumbles and two interceptions last season. Suggs became just the 18th player in history to force seven fumbles in one season.

Of course, the Ravens still have linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed, but they lost incredibly underrated outside linebacker Jarret Johnson in free agency, so their front-line talent on the edge has been wiped out. Baltimore did take advantage of Courtney Upshaw's slide in the draft, so he figures to start in Johnson's spot.

But the Ravens will need someone like Sergio Kindle to show up on the stat sheet for the first time in his career. Kindle was a supremely-touted pass rusher out of Texas, but he's been a huge disappointment due to injuries over the last two years.

The Ravens' defensive identity was as strong as any team last season, but their greatest playmaker just went down with a treacherous injury. They couldn't afford that after already losing ground to the Patriots this offseason.

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