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Suggs Injury Puts Ravens Depth on Notice

Baltimore Sun writer Mike Preston's blog post has an interesting tidbit from former Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware, who dealt with the same kind of injury Terrell Suggs suffered against Tennessee last week.

According to Boulware, "...with pass rushers like Suggs, mostly everything comes from your legs anyway," Boulware said. "As long as he can get up the field and around the corner, he can still be effective as a pass rusher. The only problem is that when you get there and try to tackle the quarterback, it can be difficult to grab him."

Smokescreen? How much of what the Ravens have reported - Suggs shoulder injury along with injuries to CB Samari Rolle, RB Le'Ron McClain, NT Justin Bannan and WRs Derrick Mason and Mark Clayton - should be considered meaningful?

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From all reports, Suggs sounds like his right shoulder is in pretty bad shape. Despite his immediate dismissal of the notion of not playing in the AFC Championship game last week, and despite Boulware's objections, Suggs would struggle if his shoulder is as bad off as the media in Baltimore are suggesting.

For all of Suggs' ability, the role Bannan plays, and their lack of depth at corner, make he and Rolle's injuries more prevalent to this game. Bannan has filled in admirably for Kelly Gregg all season, and he is the key to the Ravens' ability to show a 4-3 and a 3-4 defensive front. Without him in there, monster NT Haloti Ngata won't be able to rotate around the line. It will make the Ravens front seven less imposing.

Combine that with Rolle not being at 100 percent and Suggs probably not playing, the Steelers have edges they can attack. Steelers fans remember the 2007 season, when the Ravens had to dig deep just to field cornerbacks, and Pittsburgh shredded Baltimore for one of the most one-sided games in the history of the rivalry.

The Ravens have played a ridiculous 15 consecutive games thanks in part to Hurricane Ike postponing their game in Houston, and moving their bye week to the third week in the season. With the injuries mounting up, the Ravens have to rely on their depth.

Then again, when has Baltimore not taken advantage of these situations? Bannan filled in for Gregg, Quarterback Joe Flacco was given the keys to the offense after injuries set back Kyle Boller and a case of tonsilitus sidelined Troy Smith. McClain got a lot of his successful carries due to the fact he's the only Ravens running back who's stayed healthy all year. I'm not sure how great SS Jim Leonhard is, but considering he contributed to a great defense in wake of an injury to Dawan Landry, he's another fine example of how they are able to plug in players and still succeed.

Is LB Edgar Jones - Suggs' likely replacement - the next to get in this line? It seems we're going to find out Sunday.