In what became a bad trend last season, Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs would crash inside on a running play and watch the runner race past him for a big gain on the outside. This happened again in the preseason opener.
So, is Suggs getting caught out of position or is that the design of the play?
"It could be a little bit of both, but we do have some calls where we want to take him inside," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said. "The one thing I learned a long time ago [is] if you line up the same way all the time, a guy is going to tee off on you. You need to be able to change it up, so the guy can’t just sit there and know you’re going to be stationary all the time. We’re trying to do, maybe, a little bit more movement up front, too, in some ways, and a little bit of that is ‘Sizz’ [ Suggs]."
Pees said you have to give great players an occasional license to freelance because it allows them to use their instincts.
"I think once in a while you also have to let them be a football player," Pees said. "Now they can’t do it all the time, but sometimes I think you also have to have a little allowance. I always tell the rookies, I say, ‘Look, I’m always going to be fair, not equal.’ So, that’s kind of the way we look at it.”
A six-time Pro Bowl player, Suggs finished last season with 80 tackles, his most since the 2008 season. Last season, Pro Football Focus had him rated as the best run-stopper among all 3-4 outside linebackers.