Ravens getting used to playing without Ray

Ravens getting used to playing without Ray
November 9, 2012, 4:15 pm
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Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain (53) talks with linebacker Ray Lewis (52) during an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Cincinnati.

(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

The Ravens are settling in. 

They won't have Ray Lewis for awhile, and now they know that and are getting adjusted. They had bad luck in running into a very hot Houston football team one week after Lewis suffered his possible season-ending injury. The reason: they needed to figure things out.

When a football team loses its leader -- on either side of the ball -- they need to adjust. They need to have the person who is stepping in and taking over, in this case, that would be Jameel McClain, to find his way in doing the job. McClain is starting to get used to calling defenses and putting everyone in the right places. He did it last year when Lewis missed four games. He's starting to become more comfortable in doing it this year.

Coach John Harbaugh probably knows losing someone as important as Lewis isn't something that can be fixed in five minutes. It takes time for everyone to adapt to roles that are a little different. The defense is used to how Lewis does what he does -- and why shouldn't they? He's been doing it for so long. 

Truth be told, the Ravens actually may have gotten a bit of break with the schedule. The bye week coming right after Houston couldn't have fallen at a better time. That gave Harbaugh,  McClain and others time to start changing things around, to kind of fill the holes with Lewis being gone. But then, the players need to be able to put the plans in place during games. 

Then, although the coaches and players would never say it, the Ravens caught a break in getting the Browns and then Oakland on the schedule. It's kind of a learning time for everyone. If the Ravens drew the Steelers and Patriots, well, things would have been much worse.

In other words, the Ravens are working on adjusting to life without Ray Lewis. This will be the third game. The longer they have to go about it, the more they'll get used to it. Everyone's getting used to it. Simply put, they've got no choice. 

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