OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The Ravens are off to a 3-0 start without Elvis Dumervil, but his defensive teammates have surely missed the Pro Bowl pass rusher.
So much so that fellow outside linebacker Terrell Suggs appeared to tip the Ravens’ hand about Dumervil’s status for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. Asked about the reason for the defensive improvement from a year ago, Suggs cited good health while adding that the group would welcome another player back this week.
“It was tough not having him in there, but we get him back,” Suggs said. “It’s going to be good. Let him get in there and knock some rust off.”
Sidelined since suffering a setback just a few days after his return to the practice field on Aug. 22, Dumervil worked on a limited basis for two days last week and was listed as questionable on the final injury report for Week 3. However, he did not play against Jacksonville as the Ravens decided to give him another week in working his way back from offseason foot surgery.
Head coach John Harbaugh declined to say how close Dumervil was to playing against the Jaguars.
“He was fighting to do it,” Harbaugh said. “He just didn’t quite get there.”
Dumervil was a full participant during Wednesday’s practice, the first time that’s happened since the surgery.
The Ravens enter Week 4 ranked second in the NFL in total defense and fourth in scoring defense, but the pass rush would receive quite a boost from the presence of Dumervil, who collected 32 1/2 sacks over the last three seasons.
Baltimore is tied for seventh with nine sacks with Suggs and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan leading the way with three apiece. However, the defense will face its toughest challenge yet on Sunday against the Raiders’ second-ranked offense.
“We’ve got all our guys back,” Suggs said. “We’ve got all its working parts. We get another guy back this week, so that’s going to help us out. I think everybody is just committed to getting better every week. That’s huge for us.”