Being in the Zone

Earnest Byner talks about Jamal Lewis' awesome achievement last week against the Browns.

When you're in the flow, just ride it for all it's worth. The flow comes on like a flood at times and at other instances, it's like a trickle. Last week Jamal Lewis ran like he was on another plane. You know what, he was.

The way he used his stiff arm, the way he kept his balance, his speed, which seemed unreal. His timing was perfect on some of the cuts he made, and if you remember on his first run before scoring the touchdown, he put a move on the safety where he didn't use any wasted movement. His flow was in full effect last week. It can last for a day or for weeks or for a full season.

The flow makes everyone around you play better when you are a running back. You feel good about yourself, and you feel good for everyone that you are working with. The runner that is in a flow can make everyone around him look better. The other players, the offensive lineman, receivers and fullback are carried along by the energy that has been granted to him. They work harder for him while working harder for themselves. Everyone's confidence is at a high and the belief is that we can ride this wave of energy.

The flow can affect practice as well. You look forward to getting on to the next day when you are embodied with this force. When you are in the zone, you become more focused and efficient on the field. I could see it today at practice within Jamal's work.

No, I can't definitely say after one week that Jamal is in the zone but yes, I can say the potential is there. If he continues to get his carries on game day and is given the opportunities that he needs to produce, than he can take this great game and perhaps turn it into a great season.

Let's see if we can ride the wave when we face the Chargers. Flow is fickle at times but I have a feeling that we are in for an interesting ride. Let's keep an eye on the FLOW.

From One Great Back to Another

After Jamal broke his first run, I called him on the phone to congratulate him, but also to remind him that he should stay true to his game. In other words, work on the small things that would keep his performance consistent throughout the day. I also told him to get up and walk around because I knew that the blood was rushing in his legs. I also told him that this could be one of those monster games for him. For me, when I had a great game, I rushed for 140 –to-160 yards. Never in my mind did I think about crushing the single game rushing record.

Balance

There are checks and balances in all facets of life. Water balances fire and vice versa. In a team sport like football, you need to have balance on both sides of the ball. On offense, you must have a balance between the passing and running game. When it comes to the people on your team, there needs to be a balance provided between your leaders.

On the Ravens, the leader on defense clearly is Ray Lewis. He is the undisputed leader and franchise player for the team. He can, and has motivated most of the players on the defense to move their game to a higher level. But he can't do it on his own. That's why Ed Reed and Gary Baxter, as well as Chris McAlister must step up their leadership in the secondary. Anthony Weaver must do it on the up front on the defensive line.

Now on offense, the leader must be Jamal Lewis. I saw a look on his face that said that I am ready when we were preparing to play Pittsburgh. I am ready to go to that next level, ready to be the leader on the offense and ready to take the responsibility of being the main go to guy. If he continues on the path that he is on right now, and I don't see why he shouldn't, than as we speak, Jamal is becoming a man.

With his maturation and superstar status, we have the balance in leadership on both sides of the ball. With Jamal stepping up and providing balance to the team, the pressure on Ray Lewis is lifted as well.

Hey, Brian Billick can't be the only person to appeal to his player. In a way, Ray is his assistant coach on the field. Just as Jesus had 12 disciples, coach Billick has a myriad of assistants both on and off the field.

It has been a long time coming, but just maybe we have the making of an offense and a structure that will provide something special for this team down the road. We'll have to wait and see.


Ravens Insider Top Stories