Oct/04/12 08:21 AM Filed in: Ray Lewis
The voice of Ray Lewis on my telephone Tuesday was unmistakable.
Lewis sounds the same, but he has a new look. He’s lost at least 20 pounds since last season to increase his quickness at age 37.
“I like the way I look, love the way I feel,” Lewis said. “Definitely something I’m comfortable with.”
The Ravens have a different look, too. They’re still winning, with a 3-1 record heading into Sunday’s road game against the Chiefs, but they’re winning in a different way.
Look at the NFL statistics. Has somebody reversed the Baltimore's numbers? The Ravens are ranked 23rd in total defense but No. 2 in total offense, trailing only the Patriots. The Ravens have made the transition from a team led by its defense, to a team fueled by the offensive production of quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice.
Lewis says he loves watching Flacco run the no-huddle, watching Rice and wide receiver Torrey Smith make big plays, watching the Ravens morph into a more explosive team.
“The teams that go places at the end of the year have balance,” Lewis said. “You’re running it, you’re throwing it, you’re playing good D. Those are the teams that are around at the end. That’s what we’re becoming, that total team.”
Lewis said he wasn’t worried about whether the Ravens would pick things up defensively. Teams are throwing more against the Ravens, who are giving up just 3.2 yards per rushing attempt, which is tied for third best in the league.
It will be interesting to see if Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles can have a big Sunday against Baltimore. Running the football and butting heads with Lewis and star defensive tackle Haloti Ngata generally is not the best way to attack the Ravens. Better to spread them out and make them defend the pass, especially since the Ravens have just nine sacks in four games.
The Ravens expect their pass rush to pick up whenever linebacker Terrell Suggs (torn Achilles’ tendon) returns. They hope to get him back in either November or December.
Lewis can hardly wait.
“We’re 3-1 without the reigning defensive player of the year,” Lewis said. “That’s the plain truth. Some of our younger guys are getting experience, and then you bring ‘Sizzle’ (Suggs) back into the mix. Now the whole team is back and we’re clicking on all cylinders. That’s when you should be most dominant. None of these other teams want to talk about that.”
Plenty of people are talking to Lewis about his hit Visa commercial, where a little girl at a press conference peppers him with questions like “What’s your favorite color? What’s your bedtime? Do you believe in space aliens?”
It’s part of a promotion (Visa NFL Fan Offers) that gives fans a chance to win prizes and interact with players. Lewis said he had never met the little girl before the commercial shoot, but that he loved doing it.
“It’s a cute spot, no doubt,” Lewis said laughing. “I’ve gotten so much feedback from it.”
It shows another side of Lewis, which is fitting. Because this season, Lewis and the Ravens are showing a different way to win.