It's natural this time of year to wonder what injured player X and injured player Y can do when they are healthy again, but unfortunately for the Baltimore Ravens, it's becoming an all too common practice -- and one that has a major impact on their win total in 2016.
Today we're talking about the seemingly timeless tandem of Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs. Suggs missed almost all of last season with a torn Achilles tendon, and Dumervil had foot surgery after a significant increase in snap totals to compensate for Suggs' loss.
"The last time we played, we were the (NFL's) No. 1 (sacks) tandem, so that's something we'll try to defend once we both get back healthy," Dumervil said last week, via the team's official site.
He added: "You've got two alphas, man, and we love doing what we do. So, a lot of times, what's understood doesn't really need to be talked about a lot. But I can tell you one thing with him: He's a great teammate, he's a great player and he's a very confident guy. So, he's going to do what he needs to do to make sure we can get what we need to get done."
Most teams would still gladly make room for Suggs and Dumervil on their rosters, though perhaps not in an every-down role. Suggs also tore his Achilles back in 2012 and rushed back after a rapid recovery. That season he played just eight games and logged a pair of sacks.
So what does this mean for Baltimore? Maybe this is a transition season for the Ravens as well. Suggs will turn 34 early in the season and Dumervil is 32. The team drafted Kamalei Correa and Matt Judon -- two players known for their ability to get after the quarterback. They also have 2015 fourth-round pick Za'Darius Smith hoping to build off a strong rookie season. Add all of it together and the long odds facing Baltimore's defense don't seem so daunting. Putting it all on the shoulders of Suggs and Dumervil does, even if the pair combined for 29 sacks just two years ago.