Rookie Courtney Upshaw has impressed coaches this offseason and looms as a "plug-and-play" option at outside linebacker until Suggs returns from his partially torn Achilles' tendon.
Suggs has tracked Upshaw's progress in practice and offered encouraging words this week.
"From what I've seen on film, he's playing pretty good," Suggs told Comscast SportsNet Baltimore on Thursday. "He's ahead of where I was when I came in my rookie year."
Practice film revealed that Upshaw was "playing a little bit of everything," according to Suggs. The organization understands the former Alabama star can't be asked to match Suggs' heroics from a season ago. We expect to see a lot of Paul Kruger and Sergio Kindle in an effort to make up for Suggs' 14 sacks and general havoc wreaked on quarterbacks everywhere.
Ozzie Newsome was praised for snatching Upshaw in the second round of the draft. The move was prescient and only adds to the general manager's mystique. Ravens director of player personnel Eric DeCosta called Upshaw a "junkyard dog," per Ian Rapoport, and that's exactly what the Ravens love on defense. The outside world is asking if the rookie will fill the gap, but there's only one Terrell Suggs. More realistically, they've prevented disaster and put Upshaw on the track to rapid development, making this defense even stronger.