Ozzie: Injuries stopped Ravens in 2001

Ozzie: Injuries stopped Ravens in 2001
April 16, 2013, 8:45 pm
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When GM Ozzie Newsome was among the group that spoke to the media in a pre-draft news conference on Tuesday, the subject of what the Ravens learned from the last time they won the Super Bowl came up. 

One interesting comment that came involved Newsome's thoughts about the 2001 team. The defense helped carry the Ravens to the Super Bowl title the year before, but running back Jamal Lewis played a big role in that championship.

Despite being a rookie, Lewis played a huge role in that title. He ran for 1,364 yards in the regular season plus 338 yards in four playoff games en route to the Super Bowl. The Ravens were expecting big things from him in 2001 and hoped the offense would become more of a force, but Lewis suffered a season-ending knee injury during a training camp practice.

Newsome made his thoughts about that very clear now, 12 years later.

"I will say this and I still believe it: If we don’t lose Jamal Lewis [to a knee injury], we win back-to-back Super Bowls," Newsome said. "I just felt like we were that good. We might have been better that next year."

Newsome said the team is learning from that. He likes where the Ravens are this year despite all of the changes the team's already made. They want to be strong over the next few seasons, not just 2013.

"I think we like our football team this year," Newsome said. "To say that where this team is going to end, I’d like for someone to be able to tell me that we aren’t good enough to go to the playoffs right now. I think what we did is we just wanted to make sure that when we look downstream that we were able to keep the Torreys [Smith], the [Dennis] Pittas – guys that we wanted to keep. If you don’t make tough decisions this year, then it will be tougher to keep those guys in years to come.”