Haloti Ngata suspended four games
Today it was announced that Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata will be suspended for the final four games of the season for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. The violation comes as a surprise to many, including the front office of the Ravens who only know Ngata as a stand-up guy on and off the field.
The loss of Ngata will leave a void in the defense that already has other holes to fill, with a depleted secondary failing to stop even the most mediocre of passing attacks. Ngata was having a resurgent season, which includes two sacks, two forced fumbles, and two interceptions. After a couple of seasons with fans questioning the impact and longevity of the star defensive tackle, Ngata was showing why he earned that big contract back in 2011.
Now, the Ravens must move on. Where do they go from here? They will likely turn to rookie Timmy Jernigan to fill the void left my Ngata, a void not easily filled. Jernigan has missed a few games this season, but has shown flashes of why most viewed him as a first round talent that fell well into the second round. Jernigan has a total of 12 tackles on the season, coupled with his two sacks to start his young career. While Jernigan is a talented player, it cannot be expected that he can fill the void on his own.
Terrence Cody has been inactive in each game since returning to the fold, but should see an active role with Ngata down for the season. Another player who will figure to get more playing time is DeAngelo Tyson, who has gotten snaps this season, but has found himself inactive recently.
The Ravens face yet another test in their quest to make the playoffs. The secondary is in shambles and no answer seems to be in sight, but the void left my Ngata can be managed with a rotation of players. While this loss could signal the end of the playoff hopes for the Ravens, it is too early to say that with certainty. With that said, the Ravens have work to do, and they will have to do it sans Ngata.