They took a chance and it paid off
in spades, resulting in the acquisition of the Lombardi Trophy and recognition
of being unequivocally the best football team in the NFL at that point in
Things were looking bright in the
future of this young and bruising tailback, with the Ravens building their
offensive attack around his power-running style of play. That is until the
injury bug reared its ugly head and Jamal suffered an injury to his knee that
would cancel out his entire sophomore season. Ultimately this unfortunate injury
played a huge part in the Ravens not being able to repeat their ‘super'
performance from the previous year.
Of course he rebounded the next season and while he was not exactly
100% his toughness shined through while registering a terrific season of 1,327
yards and 6 touchdowns. This is almost unheard of from a player recuperating
from such a severe injury, a torn anterior cruciate ligament and a sprained
medial collateral ligament in his left knee.
Jamal Lewis clearly is ranked among the top ten running
backs in the league, but he's gotten little recognition since his indoctrination
into the league. Why? Myriads of different possibilities come to mind. While
Jamal Lewis is the engine that makes the Ravens offense run, the other ‘gears'
if you will haven't seemed to be as well put together.
struck gold with franchise TE
Todd Heap, but unfortunately their other offensive
weapons have sometimes lacked the same consistency that this special player has
displayed. In a nutshell their passing attack ranked 27th out of 32 teams in the
entire NFL, something that definitely points to there being addressable issues
regarding the Ravens passing/receiving portion of their offensive
This inability to move the ball through the air also has
partially resulted in the Ravens being ranked 16th in the NFL in rushing, and
Jamal seeing plenty of hefty 8-man fronts throughout the 2002 season. So long as
the Ravens opponents knew of their struggles passing the ball, Jamal would
consistently face 8-man fronts leading to nowhere.
the here and now. Jamal, a year removed from his unfortunate injury should be
raring to go and 110% healthy to ready himself for the upcoming season. And the
Ravens have also done a lot of things to position Jamal into having a phenomenal
season compared to what he's done so far.
For instance they went and got the meanest, mauling,
power-driving, most physically dominant RT that you're gonna find in the open
market in OT Orlando ‘Zeus' Brown. All 6`7, 350 pounds of him, his reputation
isn't just to block the defender, it is to destroy the man. By the fourth
quarter, whomever he's blocking will have had the strength sapped out of him,
which should perfectly complement Jamal's north-south punishing running
This addition now allows Jamal to rush to either side of the
offensive line with bookend tackles that are atop of every running back's wish
list. Upgrading the run-blocking portion of the line makes the Ravens a
legitimate power-running threat, something that has been a major goal for them
ever since they first drafted Jamal with the fifth pick overall in the 2000
Also add to that the potentially improved passing attack
with the additions of not one but two tall, fast and sure-handed veteran
receivers in Frank Sanders formerly of the Arizona Cardinals and Marcus
Robinson formerly of the Chicago Bears
and the future definitely looks brighter than ever before. These two off-season
acquisitions may be just as important to Jamal's ability to run the ball as
As everyone knows, you've got to be balanced on
offense to truly control the tempo of the game. You've got to be able to run the
ball to throw and you've definitely got to be able to throw the ball in order to
run it; of course they go hand in hand.
This year should be the year that they'll finally be able to achieve
that kind of balance. With a good mixture of offensive talent starting for the
Ravens this year, the main benefactor from the upgrade will be Jamal
Jamal has been able to consistently gain on average 1,300+
yards and 6 touchdowns in each of the two seasons that he's started for the
Ravens with only a marginal aerial attack and an unbalanced offensive line to
lean upon during the season.
If the Ravens have hit upon enough
playmakers and their current roster is as explosive as it appears to be on
paper, they will finally be able to put up a large amount of points on the board
and follow their ideal offensive script.
Originally they wanted to field a high-powered but balanced
offense that would allow them to put points up on the board in the first half of
games, then utilize a power-running profile in the second half to control the
clock and limit opportunities for opposing teams to retaliate in
Jamal is key to that effort, but so is building around him
and that's what the Ravens seem to have done this off-season. If their starters
can remain healthy, this offensive structure can potentially be one to be dealt
with, and the Ravens opponents would have more than they can handle with the
combination of a potent offense and an intimidating defense.
things go the way they'd like, it's possible that Jamal can eclipse his former
numbers and register a season well over 1,500 yards and 10+ touchdowns,
something that almost guarantees a long overdue Pro-Bowl invite. Jamal's got the
potential, lets make it happen.