On the field, Ray Lewis’s return may not mean much for Ravens

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It may seem like sheer sacrilege to criticize Ray Lewis as he heads into what will likely be his final game in Baltimore on Sunday. But amid all the talk of Lewis announcing his retirement this week, few have asked this question: At age 37 and coming off an injury that had him sitting out the last 10 games, is Lewis any good anymore?

Before Lewis suffered the triceps injury that cut short his regular season in Week Six, there was plenty of talk around the NFL that Lewis had declined significantly. Lewis had talked in the offseason about losing weight and said it was going to make him better able to compete against faster, wider-open offenses. But when the season started, he didn’t look lighter and faster. He looked lighter and weaker.

So it’s not surprising that Ron Jaworski, the former NFL quarterback and current ESPN analyst who’s known for spending long hours watching game film, said on Pardon the Interruption today that Lewis hasn’t looked this season like the all-time great linebacker he once was.

“I’ve got to be honest: When I looked at the tape of Ray Lewis when he was playing, it wasn’t the Ray Lewis I had become accustomed to watching,” Jaworski said. “He wasn’t getting to the plays that he had gotten to. He wasn’t covering receivers and backs and tight ends like I had seen in the past. There’s no question he’s going to bring those Baltimore Ravens an emotional lift, and they’ll be fired up to have Ray back — and everyone will be. But I think from the physical play on the field, he’s not what he was.”

Lewis is the undisputed leader in the Ravens’ locker room, and having their leader back — and knowing if they lose it will be their leader’s last game — may serve as motivation for some Baltimore players. But when the pre-game motivational tactics are over and it’s time to start playing, don’t be surprised if the Colts decide that the best way to attack the Ravens’ defense is to go right at Ray Lewis.

52 responses to “On the field, Ray Lewis’s return may not mean much for Ravens

  1. Ray Lewis is a great player. I think anyone would want him to have played for their favorite team. NFL football is a young man’s game, and no one can do it forever. I hope he has a great retirement, and I’m looking forward to his enshrinement in Canton.

  2. Duh! Like you said, HE’S 37!

    Maybe his value isn’t just in his play. Maybe the measure of success isn’t necessarily numbers and stats. I mean, how many defenses ranked “higher” than the Ravens’ are watching the game at home or in the golf course clubhouse?

  3. Ray always has some sort of positive impact on his D,,,yes, time to go but it will be a boost for the Ravens having 52 on the field

  4. Have you paid any attention to Ray’s career? Have you heard him speak about what this franchise, team, city mean to him? Do you think that he isn’t going to give you something special on Sunday? His 37 year old body is better than most in the league. His knowledge of the game gives him an advantage over most playing the game. Ray Lewis, the player, is going to make a difference on the field Sunday.

    This is not the game Andrew Luck wants as his first playoff game.

  5. Love it. You do you Ray is the master of studying game film right? And that he calls all the defensive audibles? And that he can read a QB better than any defensive player in the NFL? THAT is what this team is missing on the field. The general. The man who sees the QB call off the run, remembers the same play from game tape and changes the D to stop what’s coming. Step lost or not, with age comes wisdom. And poor luck has no idea what’s about to hit him…

  6. It’s the freakin’ playoffs, man. You’ll be eating these words. Ray’s swan song. Not week six vs. the Chiefs or something.

  7. Ray is washed up just like the Ravens. The Colts will end their overrated season, which should have ended already.

    See ya…

  8. It will be nice for the Baltimore fans, who most of which I respect, to get to see Ray win one more last game at home. I think being on the field will be the difference in the game for the Ravens this weekend.

  9. Sure, Ray-Ray’s production has dropped off at age 37. But he’s still above average and his leadership is second to none.

    But don’t forget, last year Ray Lewis started in the Pro-Bowl and in 2010 he was second-team All-Pro.

    There’s no denying it, Ray was/is far more than a figurehead.

  10. @1buckeye76 – who really cares?

    For all the raven doubters, you will be eating your words once again. They may not get past round two, but they are not losing to the dolts in the last home game of Ray’s career. Lucks day is coming, but it isn’t this Sunday!

  11. If I was the Colts I’d run and throw right at Ray Lewis. He’s an all time great and an obvious first ballot hall of famer but right now Ray Lewis isn’t a very good football player.

    Emotional lifts are nice but they can’t last.

  12. andrewproughcfe says:
    Jan 3, 2013 8:12 PM
    Ask Ray what his all-time home record was against Kordell Stewart? That’s right Ray, you lost them all — 0 for 5.

    you mean kordell stewart, the quarterback from pros vs joes?

  13. I am not a Ravens fan but I have the utmost respect for Ray Lewis and I think he will bring the heat on Sunday against the Colts, he is still one of the beset linebackers in the NFL. People said London Fletcher was old and should retire and he is having one of his best seasons of his career. I’ll take a veteran over a young player any day.

  14. His expierence will mean a lot if a Raven knifes someone in the pile. He will know exactly what to do.

  15. I don’t know what’s worse this article or some of the trolls posting on it? Like the other guy said; Ray Lewis is the General, and that D will play much better with him out there! Every “true” Ravens fan knows he’s lost a step. It’s impossible for a man to play a such a dominating level for so long, especially when they set the bar so high (and reinvented) the Linebacker position. But he can still play and has the smarts and leadership abilities to be effective.

    No other Linebacker in the history of the NFL possess all the intangible qualities and dominating talent for so long, as this man. There will never be another player who does so much for his team, city, and league for as long as Ray Lewis did. Other than LT, I’d say maybe the best defensive player ever! Falsely accused of murder, yet still guilty in the minds of bitter, narrow minded haters.

  16. One and done this weekend. Even Ray Ray knows this team ain’t winning anything anytime soon.

    On the plus side, you Ravens fans will finally see an elite quarterback coming in to Baltimore.

  17. People keep saying he isn’t the same player which isn’t really an insult when you look at what he was. He had 57 tackles after 6 games. Not bad. Much better than most of the starting MLBs in the NFL.

  18. What does Ron Jaworski know? This is Ray freaking Lewis.

    Anyone who thinks one of the greatest players to ever play is going down in a whimper is kidding themselves.

    Ray could have played two weeks ago but decided to save all his juice for the playoffs. I am happy he didn’t play against the Skins because that’s my team. But I have all the respect in the world for Ray Ray. Look out Luck.

  19. The number 1 defense in the league isn’t even in the playoffs. The great Pittsburgh Steelers. So whoever wins the super bowl this year should have an asterisk next to their team name. Becase the best, classiest and most storied franchise…the Steelers obviously…aren’t even in the playoffs. Oh and also ratbirds will be 1 and done! Bon voyage!

  20. Ray certainly isn’t the player he once was physically. The speed that he was known for doesn’t show up as much as did. That said, he has been off for 10 games so I would have to think his legs and body other than the arm injury are fresh. Besides, the real boost as Jaws said is going to be emotionally and mentally for his team. You don’t think that the 52 other guys on the team are going to be ready to at least win this game for Ray? Think again Colts fans. Much respect to what they’ve done this year, always liked Pagano and I have been very impressed by Luck. The Ravens’ defense was better than most think down the stretch (6th best in yardage over the final 6 games), at least better than the Colts’, it will be tough sledding for Indy on Sunay.

  21. missing 10 games is not falling off ? After the injury he may play more cautiously and if he doesn’t he risks tearing it again. The Colts should run right at him all game and watch the tiny bit of energy he has left drain out by half time and he’ll be reduced to jumping on piles. Even with Ray in the game Flacco will choke the life out of the Ravens in glorious style and lose.

  22. Football is a team sport, not an individual sport. Teams are inspired with leaders. Ray will be on the field for emotion and motivation not his physical play. If he makes each man play 10% better that’s one extra player on defense on the field.

  23. lovefootball4life says:

    Ray will be on the field for emotion and motivation not his physical play. If he makes each man play 10% better that’s one extra player on defense on the field.
    That means each guy is only playing at 90% his max when Ray isn’t in there. Explains a lot about the last 6 weeks.

  24. to all negative steeler fans…ssshhhh. you werent invited to the party this year. maybe next year. you and your great d and elite qb and 6 trophies just arent quite good enough this time. maybe next year gang. go ravens and thank you ray

  25. crownofthehelmet says: Jan 4, 2013 10:37 AM

    That means each guy is only playing at 90% his max when Ray isn’t in there. Explains a lot about the last 6 weeks.


    You’re taking the numbers too literal and trying to make a joke. If he inspires every man play a little harder the impact is greater than his one single body being in at MLB. THAT is why Ray is playing and why Ray announced his retirement already.

  26. I’m dreading the day when I see this dude screaming at me through the tv. Seriously, do a bunch of grown ass men really need to be yelled at before kickoff to motivate them? That routine got old real fast, shut up and play

  27. Hey, ‘Tallguyme’…

    You wrote this…

    “the second “s” in Lewis’s is superfluous and grammatically incorrect.”

    Please, you ditz, don’t correct others unless you know what you are doing. Check the first word of your sentence. Should not the ‘T’ be capitalized?????

    It’s the Shift key, dunce. Hmmm… I like ‘moron’, also.

    We all make minor mistakes at times. Who are you to correct others when you have no clue how to punctuate… Sorry, that is a three syllable word!

  28. andrewproughcfe says: Jan 3, 2013 8:12 PM

    Ask Ray what his all-time home record was against Kordell Stewart? That’s right Ray, you lost them all — 0 for 5.

    Really man? Thats your argument? Who is something called Kordell Stewart and when was he inducted into Canton? Dont be ridiculous!!! And yes I’m aware of who slash is.

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