As noted at baltimoreravens.com, Ray Lewis sleeker physique is being scrutinized as the Ravens have given up unprecedented chunks of yardage in the running game.
Sports Illustrateds Peter King: Ray Lewis really got pushed around by the Chiefs. That weight loss looks like it's hurting him a lot. He just isn't a factor against the run the way he used to be.
Kings SI colleague, Don Banks: "Remember when Baltimore's defense was one of the best in the business when it came to stopping the run? Those days seem long gone. Couldn't have anything to do with that new, lighter and faster Ray Lewis we've heard so much about this year, could it?
Let me respectfully disagree that this has anything to do with Lewis lighter frame. Lewis is getting blocked, sure, but thats not a function of his weighing less. Even at his previous, more husky size, the linebacker was always outweighed by offensive linemen, nearly all of whom check in at 300 pounds or more. As strong as he was if you buy into the idea that hes appreciably less strong now Lewis wasnt going to consistently out-wrestle guys who had 50 or so pounds on him. Remember, some years back, before Haloti Ngatas arrival, about how Lewis said he wanted massive defensive tackles in front of him to keep those offensive linemen occupied, leaving him free to seek out running backs?
If Lewis is getting blocked now, it isnt because he doesnt have the heft to fight off the blocks. Maybe its because, despite trying to get lighter and faster, hes not quick enough anymore to constantly outmaneuver the blocking. Because thats what he was doing before roaming sideline to sideline, shooting the gaps, slicing in to nail the running back.
Yes, we can agree this is a weighty issue. But its not about Lewis weight.