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Harbaugh expects injured Suggs to return in 2016

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — There are questions surfacing about whether linebacker Terrell Suggs will return to the Baltimore Ravens next season after suffering a torn Achilles in the opener against Denver.

While coach John Harbaugh has not had much communication with Suggs since the injury, the Ravens coach expects him back in 2016.

“I never thought that he wouldn’t,” Harbaugh said. “I talked to him right after it happened, and he told me that this is just another challenge for him to overcome — something along those lines.

“So, I felt very good about it at that time.”

However, Harbaugh acknowledged that Suggs’ future with the team is ultimately up to Baltimore General Manager Ozzie Newsome. Harbaugh did express confidence Suggs’ rehab was going well.

Suggs, though, has not been seen at the Ravens’ practice facility since the injury. As a result, there have been some questions about his leadership and choosing not to be with the team.

Harbaugh, however, did not have any concerns with that decision.

“Right now, my time is based thinking about what we need to do with the guys that are here, and when his Achilles is to the point where he can move around and be a part of it, I have every confidence that he’d be here,” Harbaugh said.

“I just haven’t spent time looking at that. I could, but really, to be honest with you, it hasn’t been a priority right now.”

–Ravens wide receiver Chris Givens didn’t waste time becoming an integral part of the offense. Givens was acquired in early October from the St. Louis Rams for a conditional draft.

Givens impressed coaches with his speed and his ability to come down with the ball. Givens caught three passes for 57 yards against the Chargers, including a nifty over-the-shoulder grab that helped set up the game-winning field goal.

“You can see the production he had with the time he played during the course of the game,” offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said. “The back-shoulder throw that Joe (Flacco) gave him on a go-route, and then the go-route itself on the audible, was as big a production as we had on two specific plays. We’re looking for that.

“He’s a smart young man, really good at picking things up. That was a very good sign for us that Joe felt comfortable choosing him to throw a go-route to the right side of the field and then the back-shoulder throw on the go-route. That’s a good sign, and we’re optimistic that we can use that as a platform in the second half of the season.”

With Steve Smith (Achilles) out for the season and first round draft pick Breshad Perriman (knee) still sidelined, look for Givens to play an even bigger role in the offense over the second half of the season. Ravens wide receivers coach Bobby Engram agreed that Givens is already developing solid chemistry with Flacco.

“Chris is one of those guys that came in and absorbed the playbook right away, and you saw him on the field,” Engram said. “I think the first game he had almost 30 snaps and had a little bit of a setback, but he’s getting ready where we’re going to need him more.

“That was a great play — a couple of really big plays — that he made in this past game. The check that we hit him down the field on and the back-shoulder catch was a great adjustment on the ball. Yes, we’re going to need him to step up and help us out.”

–The Ravens will use the bye week to improve the secondary. This unit has struggled with coverage this season and allowed several big plays, especially at crucial times.

The Ravens have not forced a turnover in the last five games.

“The bye is, during this time right now is, to make sure that we’re getting better with all those things we just talked about: making sure we’re great with our eyes, landmarks and techniques,” defensive backs coach Chris Hewitt said.

“We’re finding all those things when you go back and you look at everything that we’ve done over the first eight weeks. We’ve got to find out what we do well and what we don’t do very well. Whatever we’re doing good, we’re going to continue to keep doing more of that, and whatever we’re not doing very good at, it’s time to throw it out.

“So, that’s what we’re working on right now and just continuing to keep on getting better over this bye week and taking a look at some young guys and make sure those guys are getting better and making sure the veteran players are getting better as well. (We are) trying to find that balance.”

Ravens coach John Harbaugh sees gradual improvement in the secondary over the last couple of weeks. Safety Will Hill has been especially effective in breaking up plays.

“Our coverage is dramatically better than it was two weeks ago, three weeks ago, four weeks ago,” Harbaugh said. “It’s dramatically better. But obviously, it’s not where it needs to be yet, but we’re going to get there. We’re going to get there no matter how long it takes.

“But the clock is ticking on the season, so let’s go ahead and do it immediately. That would be the time to get it done. We expect to be a no-big-play coverage team. Now, if they go up and they make a play over your coverage, that’s going to happen, but there’s nobody (that should be) running wide open. That’s not acceptable.”

–Wide receiver Joe Morgan, a 6-feet-1, 184-pound, five-year NFL veteran, was signed by the Ravens on Wednesday. He fills the roster spot vacated when the Ravens placed wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. (Achilles) on Injured Reserve. Morgan played in 21 career games with eight starts, all for the New Orleans Saints. He has 14 catches for 471 yards (33.6 avg.) and three touchdowns, adding two rushes for 68 yards. In 2012, he had career highs in receptions (10), receiving yards (379) and receiving touchdowns (three). He spent all of 2011 and 2013 on Injured Reserve.

–Wide receiver Chuck Jacobs signed and joined the Ravens’ practice squad Wednesday. Jacobs most recently played for San Francisco during the preseason. He has not played in any regular season games. In 2013, he caught a pair of touchdowns in four preseason games.

–Center Jeremy Zuttah (shoulder) was forced out of the game against the Chargers, but the prognosis for playing Nov. 15 against the Jaguars appears positive. The bye week came at a good time for him. “Things do look good for Jeremy,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “We’ll know more Monday — see if he practices Monday, Wednesday — but things do look good.”

–Tight end Konrad Reuland was waived by the Ravens. Reuland appeared in 26 games for the New York Jets in 2012-13. Over that span, he had 12 catches for 90 yards. Reuland did not make an appearance for the Ravens.

–Wide receiver Steve Smith (Achilles) was officially placed on Injured Reserve on Wednesday. Before the injury, Smith overtook Cris Carter for 10th all-time in receiving yardage with 961 catches, 13,932 yards and 76 touchdowns. Although he said he would retire at the end of this season, there is speculation he would like to return in 2016.

–Running back Raheem Mostert is providing a spark on special teams, coming up with some key tackles. Mostert, a rookie from Purdue, was claimed by the Ravens on Oct. 14 when he was released by the Miami Dolphins. “Raheem is really fast,” special teams coordinator/associate head coach Jerry Rosburg said. “You saw him play gunner in kickoff coverage. You’ll see that when he’s running downfield on kickoff coverage, he’s right up there with Anthony Levine [Sr.], one of our faster players.”


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