Beachum will have hands full with Ravens’ pass rushers
Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs often saves his best performances for the Steelers.
PITTSBURGH – Kelvin Beachum didn’t get a lot of time to reflect this week on his performance in the Steelers’ win last week over the New York Jets.
He’s got something else on his mind.
Actually, it’s two something elses, one named Terrell Suggs, the other Elvis Dumervil, two of the premiere pass rushers in the NFL.
Baltimore’s two outside linebackers have combined for 12 of Baltimore’s 22 sacks – seven by Suggs, five by Dumervil. They form a duo that can cause the best of offensive tackles sleepless nights.
“Those guys are great pass rushers,” said Beachum, a seventh-round draft pick in 2012. “That’s what it boils down to. They do a great job with their hands, play with great leverage, play with great speed and just do a great job of getting after the quarterback.”
That’s not good news for Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who will lead the Steelers (1-4) against the Ravens (3-3) Sunday at Heinz Field.
For Roethlisberger, just playing against the Ravens, is a treat. A shoulder injury forced him to miss both games against Baltimore last year. The teams split their matchups last season, with Baltimore beating a Byron Leftwich-quarterbacked offense in Pittsburgh, 13-10, and the Steelers winning at M&T Stadium, 20-17, behind Charlie Batch.
“It was painful. I enjoy this rivalry,” said Roethlisberger, who has a 9-5 career record against the Ravens.
“I know it sounds crazy, but I enjoy two of the best teams going at it. I don’t know if it was as painful as if I would’ve played, but it was painful to sit out.”
If Pittsburgh’s offensive line can’t protect Roethlisberger from Suggs and Dumervil, it could be a long day for the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s quarterback has been sacked 18 times in five games.
Though Dumervil will primarily be on Beachum’s side, and Suggs will work against right tackle Marcus Gilbert, the Ravens like to move around their defensive ends.
“They can and will flop from time-to-time,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. “They’re going to make sure that both tackles are prepared to block both men.”
Beachum has made only six career starts, and only one at left tackle. The Ravens figure to go after him early and often with both Dumervil and Suggs.
“He’s got his work cut out for him. There’s no doubt about it,” said Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley. “One thing about Kelvin is that every time we say he’s this, he shows us he can be something more. That’s happened at every position. Now, it’s left tackle. This will be the biggest test to date. He’s working hard to get ready, but (Suggs) is a great player.”
Fortunately for Beachum, this won’t be his first start against the Ravens. His first career start came against Baltimore last season. He allowed one sack and one quarterback hurry the Steelers’ win.
But that came at right tackle. Now, he’ll be on Roethlisberger’s blind side.
Beachum feels like last year’s game in Baltimore helped prepare him for what he’s going to see.
“The Ravens are the Ravens,” he said. “It’s going to be a nasty game. It’s going to be a violent game. We understand that. We come with the mindset that we have to out-physical and out-finish those guys. It’s something we have to do on a consistent basis throughout the year, not just in this game.”
Steelers rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones has been diagnosed with a concussion and did not practice Thursday. … Tight end Richard Gordon, who signed Tuesday, did not practice Thursday because of a toe injury. … Defensive end Brett Keisel, linebacker LaMarr Woodley and tight end Heath Miller, all of whom were limited in practice Wednesday, were full participants Thursday.