Last season, the Baltimore Ravens spent very nearly all of last season without Terrell Suggs, one of their two starting outside linebackers, and were forced to make do without him. It wasn’t until after the season that they also realized just how much of their other outside linebacker, Elvis Dumervil, wasn’t quite with the team either.
The 10-year veteran had a down year, even if he might have been awarded with a Pro Bowl nod by virtue of his reputation, as an alternate. While he posted a decent 48 tackles, he managed just six sacks. Over the course of the previous five seasons, his lowest sack total had been 9.5. He twice posted 17 sacks in that span, including as recently as the 2014 season.
Dumervil spoke to reporters on Wednesday talking about the fact that he had undergone a procedure, though he would not go into great detail. In fact, he merely said that the operation was “somewhere in my foot area”, where an issue had been lingering.
Notably, the veteran said that he believed during the course of the season that his “foot area” was simply “hurt”, as in that it had been bruised or something in that vein, but later tests after the season revealed that he had been injured. “I was able to go in and get that fixed”, he said, “to get myself in a position like I am now feeling great going into this offseason to get better”.
You might recall that Dumervil had his way a bit with Pittsburgh Steelers right tackle Marcus Gilbert for a couple of years there, notably in the two teams’ playoff matchup in 2014. But the Ravens edge rusher was rather quiet during their two meetings last year. Gilbert’s own improvement certainly played an important role in that, but Dumervil was likely suffering as well.
“I didn’t feel myself”, he said about his time last season, which he described as “brutal”. “That’s why I went ahead and got the procedure done. I feel a lot better and I’m excited to feel healthy again, which I don’t take for granted. You treasure those moments when you feel good.
In spite of the fact that he was playing through injury, Dumervil actually played a career-high in over 800s snaps since he joined the Ravens a few years ago. That was in large part due to the lack of depth after Suggs was injured.
In order to address the depth, the team drafted two more rushers in Kamalei Correa and Matt Judon, as well as an intriguing undrafted rookie in Victor Ochi, while second-year linebacker Za’Darius Smith should be counted upon to play an even bigger role this year.
With Suggs returning and all of the young rushers now in the rotation, Dumervil is expected to see his snap count drop again, where he was most effective. Asked if the injury made him question continuing to play, he said simply that he wants to limit his snaps in order to help stay healthy.