ITEM: Upshaw: There's only one Suggs
With Terrell Suggs' immediate future uncertain because of recent surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, there has been some natural speculation that the Ravens will turn to Courtney Upshaw in the interim to man that outside linebacker spot.
Upshaw, selected on the second round, was the Ravens' first pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and on the day they made the selection the expectation for the rookie from Alabama was that he would come in and compete. Because of Suggs' injury, the expectations have grown.
"The coaches told me to come out here this minicamp and learn the defense, come out here and compete," Upshaw told Ian Rapaport of NFL.com. "Honestly, speaking on Suggs, there's only one Suggs. You can't replace Suggs. Everybody's got to come in as a team. The veteran leadership on this team is not going to allow slacking on my part or anybody else's. Everybody's gotta step up."
That's the smart way for a rookie to look at a situation where he could be replacing a guy who had 14 sacks and a franchise record seven forced fumbles on the way to being voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011. For his part, Suggs has promised that he'll return at some point this season, with a possible target coming in the late-October, early-November range.
"I'll take that outlook," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "I'm on board for that. Everything we've heard from the doctors would be consistent with that. Everything Terrell said about it has been right on. It's just going to depend on the injury, the healing process and his effort and work."
Harbaugh told Rapaport that his defense can withstand the loss of one guy.
"It's obvious," Harbaugh said. "We're a team. That's why you draft guys and bring guys in. It's never about one guy ever. I know Terrell said that. We've done that before. We've handled losses to our biggest stars. Terrell, Ray and Ed. It'll be up to all of us to do a little bit better."
ITEM: Lewis likes what he saw from rookies
After the Cincinnati Bengals completed their rookie minicamp, Coach Marvin Lewis said he was happy with what he had seen the previous three days.
"I think to conclude things it was a very productive five workouts and I got a great feel for the guys we drafted and the extra college free agents we signed. I think it has been a good kickoff to things," Lewis told Joe Reedy of Cincinnati.com.
According to Reedy, Lewis also offered the following opinions on a variety of subjects:
On the receivers: "I thought (No. 2 pick) Mohamed Sanu was everything we expected him to be. He's going to come in here and play as a rookie and push to start and play time. Marvin (Jones) to me really had a great five practices. His ability to be a returner will stand out. He really tracks the ball well. You see the speed compared to the size. Taveon (Rogers) and Kashif (Moore) have the speed. Justin (Hilton) is going to be able to compete and do good things in training camp. All five practices as well as the two first-year guys (Armon Binns and Vidal Hazelton) did a good job. I'm excited about it. These guys are going to compete for playing time and spots and make us better."
On No. 1 pick Dre Kirkpatrick: "I thought Dre did a good job. There's no other experience like experience. So literally to take every snap this entire weekend was great. If the period was 10 plays, he took only two off so he got eight out of every 10 plays. There's no more value than that experience and video that he is going to be able to sit down and watch … He will be able to take it on to the OTAs and build from that."
ITEM: Taylor has surgery on torn pectoral
Cleveland Browns defensive tackle Phil Taylor had surgery to repair a torn left pectoral muscle on Wednesday, May 16 at the Cleveland Clinic, but "everybody's optimistic he's going to have a significant impact on the team this season," according to a report in The Plain Dealer.
Taylor was injured on May 11 while he was lifting weights at the Browns' facility in Berea, Ohio.
Browns President Mike Holmgren said that Taylor was going through his regular lifting regimen when the injury occurred and that he was using the appropriate amount of weights for his 6-3, 335 pound frame. Coach Pat Shurmur said Taylor would be out "months, not weeks," but both Shurmur and Holmgren hope Taylor can return this season.
Depending on the severity of the tear in the pectoral, this injury can take anywhere from four-to-six months to heal. A similar injury to Browns linebacker D'Qwell Jackson in 2009 caused him to miss the last 10 games, and another one in training camp in 2010 cost him the entire season.