Suggs: Best Ravens have looked since Super Bowl

Terrell Suggs was one of many Ravens veterans to succumb to the injury bug during Baltimore's doomed 2015 season. Suggs tore his Achilles, as did Steve Smith; Joe Flacco tore an ACL; Justin Forsett broke his arm; Crockett Gillmore injured his back; and that was barely a quarter of the Ravens' injured reserve list.

Baltimore saw 20 players go on IR in 2015, but now that the team is seeing all or most of those players return to the field, there is an overwhelming sense of optimism that the Ravens are primed to return to greatness.

"It feels like everything that we lost last year, we're getting it all back," Suggs said Thursday, per the team's website. "We're getting our swag back, our chemistry. Everything is starting to feel good. Now we're starting to feel like the Ravens again. All that is key, it's big, and it goes a long way for morale too.

"I would have to say since our Super Bowl year and the year before, I think this is the best we've looked since then."

Baltimore's de facto team leader on the defense/Ray Lewis surrogate, Suggs is trying to keep standards high in Charm City. The Ravens are hoping -- and in Suggs' case, certain -- that last year's series of unfortunate events was an aberration, an outlier for an otherwise consistently above-average franchise. The Ravens finished 5-11 thanks to a depleted roster; it was their first sub-.500 season since 2007, when Kyle Boller was slinging rocks to Willis McGahee and Derrick Mason. Since Flacco has been the quarterback, the Ravens' worst campaign was their 8-8 Super Bowl hangover in 2013.

Long story short, the math is against Baltimore putting up another stinker of a season in 2016, despite the playoff-worthy competition in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati in the AFC North. And as Robert Griffin III and Terrelle Pryor demonstrated Thursday night, the Browns won't be as smooth a walk in the park as previously anticipated either.

Still, the Ravens must concern themselves only with their own production if they wish to capture the magic of 2009, as Suggs insinuated. Can a running back room of Terrance West and Justin Forsett match Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce's 1,675 yards and 10 TDs? Will Steve Smith and Breshad Perriman replicate Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith's production? Can the Ravens' defense return to its feared form?

The first step is moving on.

"It was terrible (last year)," Suggs continued. "We have to leave it back there and be the Ravens that we know, we're supposed to be and we're accustomed to being. The standard has been set here."

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